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Wireless fire detection in London housing blocks

Ekho, a hybrid wireless fire detection product from Hochiki, the life safety product manufacturer, has been installed in six blocks of housing in north London.

EN54-25 approved and RED compliant, Ekho uses radio networking and provides an ‘always on’ network of devices which automatically adapt to changing site conditions. Fire Alarms Fabrication Services (FAFS) chose Hochiki.

Waking Watch schemes have been used as 24/7 monitoring of buildings identified as fire risks due to dangerous cladding, after the June 2017 Grenfell Tower fire. Given the operational costs, and the risk of human error, building owners and councils are looking to life safety manufacturers and installers to help with something reliable and cost-effective.

Kevin Dodge, sales Account Manager at FAFS says: “The technology used in the Ekho devices helps residents feel safer compared to relying on a team of people prone to human error. The building owners are reassured due to the self-configuring mesh network which keeps the devices connected and communicating with the fire panel 24/7.”

The six buildings each have 16 floors. A Waking Watch team of six patrolled the stairs, corridors, and communal areas at a cost of £10,000 per week. However, because the teams could not be in all places, at all times, they might not be able to detect a fire escalating up the outside on the cladding. To add to this Waking Watch are not permitted to enter private apartments; meaning early detection could be missed here too.

“This was an incredibly complex and highly involved project, we worked closely with the team at Hochiki who consulted on best devices for this project. The Ekho range offered a wireless solution which allowed us to work around issues such as cabling inside private spaces. Ekho allowed for early detection and most importantly detection outside of the building on cladding by installing heat sensor devices adjacent to every single window, including the windows for individual dwellings. The Ekho range is ultra-dependable, and much more cost effective than the Waking Watch scheme that was in place in these buildings.”


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