Fike’s video fire detection protects UK’s Battle of Britain heritage

Posted On 19 Aug 2014
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The SigniFire Video Fire Detection (VFD) system from Fike Safety Technology (FST) has been deployed in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) hangar to protect some of the nation’s most valuable historic assets. Based at RAF Coningsby, the aircraft of the BBMF are regularly seen at events commemorating World War II, British State occasions and at air displays around the UK and Europe. Most notable among the WWII aircraft are the Spitfire, the Hurricane and one of only two flight-worthy Lancaster bombers in the world. It was therefore imperative that when the fire protection needs of the BBMF hangar were reviewed, a state-of-the-art solution was chosen to provide effective and reliable fire detection. The new system was designed and installed by T.I.S., an integrated solutions specialist and part of Fike’s nationwide Integrator Network. The camera-based SigniFire VFD visually detects the presence of fire or smoke at its source. Multiple cameras have been installed covering both the floor of the hangar and the roof space. The technology offers many benefits including fast and reliable response, effective protection in demanding environments, excellent value for money and the bonus of providing CCTV images for security purposes (if required). In addition, the video can aid incident response with recordings made for post-incident analysis. Following a rigorous competitive tender, SigniFire was chosen for its advanced technology, resilient and redundant architecture and a field-proven reliability. Testing phase at RAF Coningsby The testing phase at RAF Coningsby created an unusual problem, as Mark Wilson” head of contracts for T.I.S.” explained.” Due to the nature of the environment and the priceless value of the assets held in the hangar we were not allowed to light real test fires for the commissioning of the system. On that basis we developed a unique artificial flame and smoke simulator. At the time of testing both the original fire detection system and the VFD were operational. These tests demonstrated SigniFire’s excellent and fast response to the initial presence of both smoke and flame.” Unlike conventional fire detection systems, SigniFire doesn’t use traditional forms of smoke, heat or flame detection. Instead, it works by automatically analysing video images at the point of detection in each video fire detector, looking for tell-tale characteristics that indicate the presence of smoke and/or flames. Distributing the video processing to within each fire detector camera delivers improved resilience and, with the use of fire resistant cable, allows the system to be BS 5839 certified. Video is recorded by way of NVR and monitored remotely on a touchscreen SpyderPanel. SigniFire is also connected to a newly installed addressable fire alarm system in the building. An aircraft hangar creates one of the most demanding environments for VFD, with day/night light changes, slow moving aircraft, bright sunlight and constantly opening hangar doors. The application of video exclusion zones and double-knock triggers on both flame and smoke detection ensures false alarms are minimised and that the BBMF hangar has reliable and effective protection around the clock. In addition, LED white lighting has been installed next to each camera to ensure minimum illumination at all times.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.