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College wireless alarm

Westminster Kingsway College, a further education college in central London, has had recent construction work. The contractors BAM Construction Ltd have employed some 200 Bull Products’ Cygnus wireless fire alarm devices. Linked to a central Cygnus control panel, there are 53 Cygnus call point alarms, 105 smoke detectors and 29 heat detectors, and a number of interface units which link with a new fire alarm system installed in the existing building.

The Cygnus alarm came into its own recently, when fires started in two separate parts of the construction area. The first event was a power surge causing a fire in one of the classrooms which was spotted visually by one of the electricians who raised a fire alert through manually operating the Bull Products’ system. In a second event, fire broke out in the UPS room and this was automatically detected by the Cygnus system and an alert sent to security staff who called the fire brigade to attend and put the fire out.

A Phase 2 of work at Westminster Kingsway involves in-filling a light well and atrium to create 500sq m of extra space as well as stripping out and re-fitting areas of the college with classrooms and kitchens. The layout now incorporates a ground floor library, a canteen on the first floor and break-out areas on the second floor with a mezzanine area for toilets and changing rooms. The work has been a 70 week programme which is scheduled to finish at the end of October.

The Cygnus wireless fire alarm has been designed and developed with construction companies to incorporate the features required for larger construction projects, the makers say. The Cygnus is able to link up to 480 units in 15 zones. Individual units may be either a fire alarm call point, first aid alert point, smoke detector, heat detector or a combined call point and first aid alert alarm.

Where there are multiple sites within range of each other, the CE marked Cygnus system has been designed to operate on different site addresses to keep each system separate and free from interference. An optional control panel provides an event log function which records any events such as an alarm activation, low battery warning, and signal faults, all of which can be viewed if necessary in the history folder held on the panel. The system also has the ability to test all units and has an evacuate function which will act as a call point to the rest of the alarm units.

Each unit in the system can provide the panel with information at regular intervals. This explicit information confirms the unit is still present and what the battery status of each device is. Known as the ‘heart beat’ this message is monitored by the control panel where fitted and if the ‘heart beat’ is not heard for several intervals, the control panel logs a full status for that unit.

A PIR option is now available on any of the modules which can detect an intruder and alert off-site personnel.


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