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How Is “The Internet of Things” (IoT) Changing Fire Safety?

Written by:
Holly Moore
Posted On:
21st September 2022

Fire safety and the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a buzzword that has been gaining traction over previous years for a wide range of reasons, one of which is the implementation around fire safety and prevention.

IoT is the term given to a wide range of devices that communicate with each other, most often associated with driverless cars and smart home technology. IoT devices are not only paving the way for the fire safety industry but for landlords and building owners who wish to incorporate IoT into their fire safety systems.

The applications for IoT devices are endless and, in more recent years, have been implemented in innovative ways to aid home life safety and fire prevention. Gone are the days a stand-alone battery smoke alarm in the home is considered the necessary coverage. Housing providers are increasingly seeking new methods to maintain their housing stock remotely, and IoT devices are now taking center stage. IoT devices can provide remote monitoring and data capture, allowing housing providers to view fire safety device information or status without needing to gain property access. Housing providers using these IoT devices can track the testing frequency, head removals, improve the upkeep, and more of vital fire detection systems, which would otherwise disrupt the ability of an alarm to detect fires, in turn saving lives.

IoT Technology

The Internet of Things describes a massive range of products and services. Aico’s HomeLINK IoT offering focuses on our 3000 Series of alarms and HomeLINK Environmental Sensors.

All the devices in our connected home offering connect to our Ei1000G Gateway, which can transmit information to an easy-to-use online portal. Each alarm in the 3000 Series has the ability to transfer important data to the Gateway with the addition of a SmartLINK module. Depending on the alarm, this data can have a wide array of benefits to both landlord and resident when it comes to home life safety.

Aico’s HomeLINK IoT platform has many benefits. The main stand-out points in fire safety for housing providers are the notifications following alarm head removals, alarm tampering, alarm activations and the ability to view testing frequency.

First, the Ei3014 Heat alarm is mainly utilised in the kitchen but can also be used in the garage, detecting temperature, not smoke. This product reduces false alarms from cooking fumes and dust, as the alarm will not sound until the thermistor detects a temperature of 58°C. Next, the Ei3016 Optical alarm is primarily used in living and circulation spaces to detect smoke. These sensors also have a combined option, the Ei3024, which has both a heat and optical sensor for all-round fire protection.

Within the 3000 Series, there are also carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. The Ei3018 solely detects CO, and the Ei3028, has both a heat and a CO sensor, offering a combined option for high-risk CO and fire areas such as the kitchen.

The latest addition to Aico’s connected home offering is the HomeLINK Environmental Sensors; the Ei1020 and Ei1025, detect temperatures, humidity, and carbon dioxide levels.

Connecting to the Gateway, these battery powered, easy to install IoT devices can give  landlords and residents a wide range of insights into the health of their homes. These devices help the housing provider to become proactive by viewing insights through the HomeLINK Portal. Meanwhile, the HomeLINK App, gives residents the power to act quickly on issues such as condensation, damp and mould or poor indoor air quality, resolving potential problems before they arise.

Fire Prevention & Suppression

All the 3000 Series can wirelessly communicate with the Ei1000G Gateway with the addition of an Ei3000MRF module. The main benefit of this fire alarm system is that information from all connected alarm heads is transferred to an easy-to-use online portal, which can be invaluable for housing providers.

It is not just data such as replacement dates and model numbers that providers can now easily access that has improved asset management and compliance, but also the information that helps keep residents safer. There are many reasons why an alarm may be tampered with or not tested; in days gone by housing providers would not know of these issues until they visited the premises. Using our connected fire system, if an alarm head is removed, tampered with or has not been tested sufficiently, landlords can be proactive rather than reactive in terms on engaging with their residents about the importance of fire safety.

More importantly, if an alarm is activated, that landlord can receive notifications by text or email, allowing them to respond accordingly. This means that even if there is no one home, action can still be taken.

Fire Detection

The Ei3024 multi-sensor is unique in that it detects both heat and smoke, with the sensors working together to reduce false alarms and increase sensitivity where needed. When it comes to fire detection, response time is everything, and this multi-sensor helps to ensure fire is detected as early as possible. When the heat thermistor within the alarm detects a sudden rise in temperature, the optical sensor has the ability to increase its sensitivity, leading to a quicker response time than a single-sensor smoke alarm.

Another practical feature of our optical alarms is dust compensation technology, with the sole aim of decreasing the number of false alarms caused by dust contamination. The optical chamber monitors any dust build-up and adjusts the optical sensitivity threshold accordingly.

Large housing stocks can be difficult to manage for housing providers, with false alarms coming at a significant call-out cost. Nuisance alarms can also lead to tenants being tempted to remove the alarm head to stop the sounding instead of resolving the issue. This is of course very dangerous as it completely removes the life-saving device from the property. Not only does the innovative technology such as multi-sensors and dust compensation reduce call-out costs due to the decreased risk of a false alarms, the Gateway provides notifications for housing providers when a head is removed, allowing them to react and ensure the device is working correctly, giving the full protection required.

Predictive Measures

The quicker the response time with a fire alarm, the more chance there is for tenants to get to safety. But what if they are not home? If the property is a flat or attached to adjacent homes, then there may be other residents nearby who need to evacuate but may not hear the alarm. With Aico’s connected IoT devices, there is an extra line of defence as the landlord will receive an alarm activation alert, giving them the chance to react accordingly.

The fire safety system can be used to see if there are any other activations within the property, making it easier to predict the spread of a fire and the smoke. The emergency services can also utilise the information to assess what went wrong and why the fire systems were activated. This can be invaluable to tenants for improving their home life safety and looking at what measures can be taken in the future.

To find out more about the Aico’s Ei1000G and how it can improve asset management, compliance and resident safety, visit our SmartLINK page.

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