Demand for automated firefighting is continuously increasing owing to remote-controlled monitors – especially in combination with automated fire detection – that allow for a targeted but flexible firefighting operation in limited areas, says fire protection services company FireDos engineering department head Fritz Zimmermann.
Automated firefighting systems are well known as sprinkler systems and spray nozzles. Automated firefighting systems with remote-controlled monitors have been used for fire protection in various facilities.
“The range of monitors and the possibility to select from a variety of mountable nozzles provide flexibility and enhance performance to achieve effective fire protection for high risk areas.”
He notes that remote-controlled monitors allow a targeted firefighting operation in confined spaces and can be used with extinguishing agents like water, low-expansion foam and, if required, even powder.
The nozzles fitted to these are fine-tuned to suit the type of extinguishing agent, allowing extended reach, says Zimmermann. This, combined with suitable fire detection and control, guarantees effective fire protection while requiring just a minimum number of firefighting personnel.
“To fully use the range of potential offered by remote-controlled monitors for firefighting, introducing a programmable control system with state-of-the-art communication facilities is mandatory,” he points out.
This allows the connection of automatic fire detection systems and fire alarm control panels for large and complex facilities – which in return allow for a fast response time.
Additionally, Zimmermann explains that when control systems for remote-controlled monitors are interconnected with fire detection systems, pre-selection of individual zones can be skipped.
He says the monitor will then swivel to an area identified by the fire detection system and will start the extinguishing operation directly at the source of the fire.
“In the case of locally confined initial fires, this results in maximum firefighting success while consuming just a minimum amount of the extinguishing agent and affecting only a limited area.”
He adds that the range of electric control systems for remote-controlled monitors reaches from standalone control systems to control one single monitor to complex systems with multiple monitors where decentral individual controls are connected with a central control unit through a fibre-optic network.
Moreover, the technical development in the field of drive engineering, sensor technology and control technology “offer great future potential to detect fires in their initial phase”, explains Zimmermann. This also allows for the fire to be fought in a localised and resource-conserving manner by use of monitors.
He concludes that the availability of remote-controlled monitors and nozzles where the extinguishing agent flow rate can be adjusted by remote-control without interruption of the operation, makes it possible to also apply this procedure to automated firefighting systems.
“If it is therefore possible to apply experience and procedures from practical firefighting to automated firefighting systems, with the seeming paradox of less extinguishing agent leading to a higher level of fire protection becoming reality.”