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Sheffield standardises

Sheffield City Council has completed an upgrade of fire safety in its 1,134 sheltered housing properties. The product fitted is Aico’s Multi-Sensor fire alarm. Another 261 properties within three tower blocks will also have this fire alarm, after a fire risk assessment from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue.

A long standing Aico customer, Sheffield City Council has moved to a single alarm specification – the Multi-Sensor fire alarm. This enables the council to standardise its fire detection across its sheltered properties, making it easier to manage and reducing the chance of renewal using the wrong type of detector.

Aico’s Multi-Sensor Fire Alarm contains two sensor types, optical and heat, to monitor smoke and heat levels, sending and receiving information via its intelligent detection software. This sensor information alters the alarm’s sensitivity and trigger points, which the manufacturer says reduces potential false alarms.

Steve Batty, Electrical Team Manager, at Sheffield City Council, says: “The choice of detector depended on, amongst other things: the speed of response needed to provide adequate warning, the nature of the perceived fire hazards, the suitability for the environment and the need to minimise false alarms. Being a multi-sensor it allows for better coverage where there is more than one type of fire risk i.e. a broader spectrum of fire detection.

“As these properties are now monitored, nuisance tripping needed to be reduced and the dust compensation feature of this model reassured us that this could be achieved over the lifespan of the unit.”

The Multi-Sensor has a self-monitoring dust compensation mechanism in its software that monitors minute changes in dust levels, recalibrating the alarm trigger point as required. This reduces the number of false alarms and maintenance, the makers say.

The Multi-Sensors are officially being installed to Category LD2 (medium protection) but with alarms also in the bedrooms; which in most properties actually equates to the higher LD1 category. This level of protection was carefully chosen by Sheffield for their sheltered properties, and consideration was given to the guidance within the Local Government Association’s “Fire Safety in Purpose-Built Flats” publication.

This same publication, published after the Lakanal House fire, recommended two way verbal communication between residents and the monitoring station and/or warden call system before summoning the fire brigade. As a result, Sheffield has also installed Aico’s Ei414 Fire/CO Alarm Interface, which provides a dedicated connection between Aico alarms and warden call systems. The Ei414 is also used by the council as an interface with the sprinkler system in a sheltered tower block. “Connection of the sprinkler flow switch into the Ei414 enables us to monitor both sprinklers and smoke detection activations in individual flats, dealing with activations effectively and reducing response times for the fire brigade.”

Aico’s Ei450 Alarm Control Switch is being installed for residents. The Ei450 is wall mounted and allows residents not only to test all alarms on the system, but also silence them and locate the trigger alarm from a safe, accessible location.

All elements within the fire safety system are being interconnected wirelessly using Aico RadioLINK+ RF technology “to mitigate disturbance for residents wherever possible.”

Steve adds: “As part of Sheffield City Council’s initiative to improve fire safety to residents and properties, we have been working closely with Aico as well as South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue to invest in fire safety. The service we receive from Paul Cartwright (Aico Regional Specification Manager) has always been excellent. He is continuously available to advise, gives frank and trustworthy advice which is much appreciated within the industry.”



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