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Ferguson's Marina's Quick Reaction to the Recent Fire

 

A recent fire at Middle Harbour Yacht Club sent alarm bells ringing across the waterfront marinas of Sydney Harbour prompting the desire to install some innovative fire protection solutions by nearby marina operators.  The owners of Ferguson’s Marina, only 100m from MHYC watched first hand as the fire gutted part of the old timber boatshed.  It was the prompt actions of neighbours smelling smoke and the quick arrival of the fire brigade that saved the rest of the building.

Ferguson’s Marina worked with MHYC to develop an understanding of the fire and the response process and realised they needed a unique solution for their fire alarms and early warning systems to fully protect their property and more importantly, those occupying the premises.

Martin Thompson of Ferguson’s Marina noted “We don’t have the benefit of close neighbours but we do have residents in each building.  My family also lives in part of the marina building so I needed a first class early warning solution for the building and naturally, their protection is of paramount concern to me”.

Professional Fire Safety Consultation

Ferguson’s Marina asked Fire Safe Australia & New Zealand (www.firesafeanz.com.au) for help to come up with a suitable cost effective solution. Fire Safe Australia & New Zealand has been providing Ferguson’s Marina with essential services maintenance and fire protection consultation since 2013. They are an independently owned fire protection company specialising in the installation, service and maintenance of fire protection systems and electrical compliance in over 6,500 customers’ sites across Australia and New Zealand. A variety of industries and sites trust Fire Safe Australia & New Zealand with their fire safety needs to protect their property, in diverse industries such as hospitality, large and small retail outlets, healthcare, and education establishments.

The Solution ‐ Wireless Interconnect Smoke Alarms

Fire Safe Australia and New Zealand recommended that Ferguson’s Marina install a Brooks’ RadioLINK Smoke Alarm system. Brooks has been designing systems for the electrical and fire engineering industries for over 40 years and was the first company to introduce wireless smoke alarm interconnection in Australia and New Zealand.

Interconnecting smoke alarms became mandatory in Australia in May 2014 for all new dwellings where more than one smoke alarm is installed. In New Zealand if more than one alarm is installed and the type used has an interconnection capability, then it must also be interconnected.

The safety benefits of alarm interconnection are obvious; in the event of one alarm detecting a fire, all interconnected alarms will go into alarm mode, sounding throughout the property. All the alarms in a building become activated simultaneously and minimises the very real risk that in the event of a fire, a heavy sleeper, adults or children shut behind a bedroom door may not be woken in time or at all by an alarm in a remote downstairs hallway.

Testing and controlling the system is made easy and convenient with the Brooks EIB450 Alarm Controller. As the controller is also RadioLINK it can be located in an easy accessible location for quick response. The controller allows the owner to test their system, silence the system or locate the actual alarm which caused the event. No need to find a ladder or stand on a rickety chair – no more excuses for not regularly testing your system.

Hardwire Interconnection vs RadioLINK Interconnection

RadioLINK Wireless interconnection enables alarms to be connected to each other without the need for cabling. Instead, a Radio Frequency (RF) signal is used to trigger all the alarms in the system.

Installing hard wired interconnection can be time consuming, disruptive and costly, particularly in existing buildings. The ability to interconnect alarms without interconnect wiring has made interconnecting mains powered and battery operated alarms simpler, quicker and less costly to install and has made interconnection more popular to retrofit in existing and new buildings.

Wireless interconnection also makes it far simpler for owners, installers, specifiers and landlords to make changes to a system to help meet the changing needs of different tenants. With so much emphasis being placed on individual risk assessment, this flexibility will become an integral part of system planning in the future.

The radio signal can travel a very long way if there are no obstructions to block it – 150 metres or more. However, it is more relevant to consider the practical application where there will be walls, ceilings and other obstructions to impede the radio signal path. The Brooks RadioLINK system uses a “mesh” technology where each device is a repeater. This enables the system to find the best communication path between devices and “go around” potential obstacles which may impact on the signal.

A big advantage in blocks of units and Multiple Occupation Houses is that the alarms can be interconnected between (distance and obstruction dependent) as well as within properties. If installing a mains powered system, in an ordinary hard‐wired installation it is necessary to cross property boundaries with mains cable in order to interconnect the alarms (and provide the mains power). This poses an unacceptable electrical safety risk and a costly installation. In this situation, it is necessary to use a system that allows each alarm to be connected to a common local power supply, yet remain interconnected when activated. With a Brooks RadioLINK system there is no need to run common mains power to individual dwellings.

With the Brooks RadioLINK unique learn function (house coding) interference from other adjoining or nearby RadioLINK systems is totally eliminated. Security systems, car alarms, mobile phones or television remote controls will not interfere with the Brooks RadioLINK system.

The numbers and types of alarms that can be interconnected will depend on the individual manufacturer. However, Brooks’ Jeff Weston says “it is technically possible to interconnect up to 20 alarms, but the limiting factor is likely to be the distance between alarms and obstructions that may block the radio signal. In most domestic properties and small commercial buildings a realistic maximum number of alarms would be about 12.” With Brooks all alarms, Smoke, Heat and Carbon Monoxide have RadioLINK capability and the different types all work together ensuring you have the right product to provide the right solution for your application.

The Result

One of the greatest attractions for Ferguson’s Marina to install Brooks’ wireless interconnect smoke alarms is that their building’s design includes a lot of areas where a regular smoke alarm would not be heard when parts of the building is unattended. Being able to RadioLINK these alarms for a higher level of warning has significant safety benefits and early warning improvements.  In addition to this, because they own the building next door, they can link the alarms in both buildings so that an alarm in one building can alert residents and tenants in both buildings at once.

Ferguson’s Marina is so pleased with the results obtained by installing wirelessly interconnected alarms, they are installing the system at their other marinas and invite anyone from the industry interested in considering this option to visit Ferguson’s Marina and see for themselves the installation, including the combination of radio linked heat and smoke alarms and remote testing and cancellation features.

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