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Written by:
Alex Garmston
Posted On:
22nd August 2017

Sheffield City Council has completed a programme to upgrade its fire safety throughout its 1,134 sheltered housing properties using Aico’s Multi-Sensor Fire Alarm for an enhanced level of safety; this will enable residents to live safely in their homes for many years to come, even should their health or mobility deteriorate.  An additional 261 properties within three tower blocks will also benefit from this premium fire alarm, following a fire risk assessment and advice from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue.

A long standing Aico customer, Sheffield City Council is committed to providing tenants with a high level of fire safety.  This latest move to a single alarm specification – the advanced Multi-Sensor Fire Alarm – not only provides greater safety but also enables the Council to standardise its fire detection systems across its entire sheltered property portfolio, 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 constantly 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, automatically providing the best response to all fire types and reduces potential false alarms.

Steve Batty, Electrical Team Manager, at Sheffield City Council, explains the decision to standardise on the Multi-Sensor: “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 unique self-monitoring dust compensation mechanism incorporated into 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 costs.

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 City Council 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 following the Lakanal House fire, recommended two way verbal communication between residents and the monitoring station and/or warden call system prior to summoning the fire brigade.  As a result, Sheffield City Council 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.”

In addition, Aico’s Ei450 Alarm Control Switch is being installed for residents’ convenience.  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.”

But it’s not all about product, as Steve comments: “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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