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Welcome to the Plumis fire protection blog. Stay informed about domestic fire safety, fire building regulations and ADB-compliant solutions for open plan living. Please feel free to browse through the posts and comment about what you read.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Plumis Automist enables independent living

During a lifetime, each of us runs a 1 in 5 risk of being involved in a serious house fire with the young, the elderly and those the least able to escape being the most vulnerable. When a brand new accommodation unit was built in the centre of Cheltenham for people with disabilities and acquired brain injuries it was decided to add fire protection to increase the time to evacuate the building in the event of a fire.

National Star College provides specialist further education, training, personal development and residential services. The design of the building was such that the bedrooms in the 4 independent living units were at the back of an open plan living area with no protected escape route. 



John Everitt, a partner in Coombes Everitt, the architects who designed the building had used an innovative fire suppression solution in the past which uses a high pressure pump to generate a fine water mist (nebula) from nozzles mounted under a standard tap, on a work top or on a wall to provide residential fire life protection.  “I had no hesitation in recommending that Automist from Plumis was used because it is easy to install and aesthetically pleasing, seamlessly integrating into the design as well as being very cost effective as it costs a fraction of traditional sprinklers.” The innovative device is designed to limit fire growth and minimise the residents’ exposure to toxic gases and heat in the event of a fire. It makes evacuation easier in an emergency – particularly important for vulnerable people as it provides precious extra time for the unconscious and immobile, as well as sounding an alarm. Sensing is based on heat detection as recommended in Approved Document B making it a very reliable solution.

Coombe Everitt plan on continuing to use Automist including in listed buildings which are being converted into flats.

For further information on this project or the Plumis Automist range of water imist suppression solutions call Plumis on +44 (0) 20 7871 3899, visit www.plumis.co.uk or email info@plumis.co.uk 

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Fighting fires with water mist

As a process, a fire involves a chemical reaction between combustible fuel and oxygen from the air. The prerequisites of sustained burning are:
  • Combustible fuel: This can be solid (Class A), liquid (Class B) or gas-phase
  • Oxygen: The ambient air contains about 21 volume-% of oxygen
  • Heat for ignition: Once the fire has got started, the fire itself will generate the heat to sustain burning
  • Uninterrupted chemical chain reaction between the above three elements

To extinguish a fire, at least one of the above elements must be removed:
  •  The fuel supply can in some cases be removed, e.g. by shutting of the fuel supply to an engine. In other cases it cannot be affected
  • The oxygen concentration can be lowered, e.g. by adding an inert (non-reactive) gas into the fire
  • The heat can be removed, e.g. by wetting the combustible surfaces or cooling the flame.
  • The chain reaction can be interrupted by adding a chemical that reacts with unstable sub-products of combustion.


When talking about fire fighting, three different terms are used:
  •  Fire extinguishment: Complete elimination of any flames and smouldering fire. No re-ignition will take place, when the fire fighting is ceased
  • Fire suppression: A sharp reduction in the heat release rate and prevention of re-growth of the fire
  • Fire control: Limitation of fire growth and prevention of structural damage

When talking about fire protection, water mist is divided into three categories:
  • Low pressure: < 12 bar
  • Medium pressure: > 12 bar and < 36 bar
  •  High pressure: > 36 bar

Water uses two major firefighting mechanisms, both related to the evaporation of water:
  • Cooling: When turning into vapour, water absorbs more heat than any other firefighting agent
  •  Inerting: When turning into vapour, the water volume expands 1760 fold, causing the oxygen to be displaced

The droplet size of a conventional sprinkler system exceeds 1 mm. The corresponding size for high pressure water mist, when using special nozzles, is in the order of 0.01 mm (nebula). Hence, with a high pressure water mist system, considerably less; water is needed for the same cooling and inerting efficiency as in conventional water spraying systems. Water in the form of mist offers an additional firefighting benefit that no other fire-fighting agent has, i.e. blocking of radiant heat. The large number of droplets and the large combined surface area effectively absorbs and scatters heat radiation. This prevents the spreading of the fire. This radiant heat blocking is so efficient that people at a distance of only a few meters from the fire feel no heat.

The use of water mist systems in the United Kingdom has increased over the last few years due to a number of reasons, as a technology it is:
  • Non-toxic;
  • No asphyxiation risk;
  • Low cost;
  • Efficient at cooling due to fast vaporisation of the small droplets;
  • High efficiency in suppression;
  • Environmentally friendly;
  • Minimising consequential water damage;


(Reference: High Pressure Water Mist - The Modern Approach in Fire Fighting, Stefan Gordin)

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Automist Smartscan by Plumis – A Redefinition of the Fire Sprinkler

Introducing Automist Smartscan


Automist Smartscan® is more than a safety device for suppressing fires—it’s a modern design feature. An evolution of the James Dyson award-winning Automist®, the discreet wall-mounted device enables homeowners and architects to design beautifully light and open spaces, while still meeting challenging requirements of building regulations. 



Automist Smartscan® has a rotating head that directly targets fires with a powerful jet of water mist. It has been proven to achieve the same performance as residential sprinkler systems, and uses 90% less water resulting in minimal water damage to the living space. 




Why Automist Smartscan?

Direct targeting – Automist Smartscan® suppresses fires more efficiently by targeting the origin of the fire directly
Meets the highest performance standards – Automist Smartscan® has met the fire performance standards outlined in BS 9252 and BS 8458 DPC.
Minimises damage – Unlike conventional sprinklers, Automist Smartscan® can be stopped once the fire is extinguished, minimising potential water damage
Robust activation – Automist Smartscan® is triggered by reliable heat detectors and therefore is not prone to false alarms like a smoke alarm.
Less disruption – The average retrofit and installation process takes just a few hours with minimal impact to the building or disruption to daily lives.
Low maintenance – The annual maintenance is quick and simple, taking just a few minutes.
Low water usage – Automist Smartscan® typically uses 90% less water than traditional sprinkler systems, minimising consequential water damage.


Over the years we’ve changed how we design our homes. It’s about time we changed how we protect them, too. Automist Smartscan® enables home design to be as beautiful as possible, while meeting industry fire performance standards. It enables more control with easy retrofit and installation. Most importantly, it enables peace of mind that your living space is protected while you’re away.

To learn more visit: 
http://www.thesmartscan.co.uk/ or http://www.plumis.co.uk/smartscan.html


Monday, 30 November 2015

Plumis Automist used to provide fire protection in Manx TT Races Control Tower

Plumis – Automist was installed by Eurotec Safety Services of Belfast as a key part of an alternative fire protection scheme to protect the control room within the control tower of the Isle of Man's famous Tourist Trophy (TT) and Manx Grand Prix (MGP) motorbike races, where riders compete on a road circuit of nearly 38 miles. The Isle of Man Government's Department of Tourism and Leisure (DTL) operate a suite of IT systems in support of these annual races and these are all controlled from a tower, situated at the start/finish line in Douglas.
The whole room was undergoing major refurbishment before this year’s event which takes place from 30 May until 12 June. The Island’s Building Control officers stipulated that the room would require additional fire suppression measures because the control room leads off the only escape route. The Department of Infrastructure had worked with Eurotec Safety Services of Belfast on a number of projects in the past and were pleased when Geoff Dougan, Eurotec’s Director recommended the use of Plumis Automist, a simple, yet effective fire protection appliance that uses a high pressure pump to generate a fine water mist. Automist automatically and reliably detects and suppresses incipient fires before they can take hold and cause devastating damage. Each nozzle is designed to provide up to 80m³ of protection or 32m2 of floor area with a ceiling height of 2.4 metres. The system is activated utilising a heat detector as recommended in Approved Document B, effectively eliminating nuisance alarms which would be highly disruptive to the thousands of visitors attending the races. In this case, 2 pumps and 2 sprayheads were used to provide complete protection at a fraction of the cost and with much less disruption than fitting sprinklers. Furthermore, the use of sprinklers was unattractive to the organisers of the races because water damage would have caused a highly inconvenient interruption to the races.
Dayle Collister from the Isle of Man Department of Infrastructure who run the races was very satisfied with the solution and would recommend Automist to resolve similar situations.
For further information on this project or the Plumis Automist range of elite fire safety suppression solutions call Plumis on +44 (0) 20 7871 3899, visit www.plumis.co.uk or email info@plumis.co.uk

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Elite Fire Safety is no longer an accredited reseller installer of Plumis Automist

Elite Fire Safety is no longer an accredited reseller installer of Plumis Automist. If you require Automist installation or maintenance services in the London area please contact. 

www.plumis.co.uk/london.html

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Mainpoint Fire Protection use innovative solution for fire protection in old boot repair premises

Plumis – Automist was installed by Mainpoint Fire Protection as a key part of an alternative fire protection scheme which was required because the refurbishment of a 1930’s factory into three buildings did not allow sufficient access for the fire brigade in the event of a fire. Building Regulations Fire Safety (Part B) Section 11, paragraph 2 states that: “There should be vehicle access for a pump appliance to within 45m within the dwelling house.” 103 St Mary’s Road in Oxford had been the boot repair department of Oxford Co-operative Society until it closed in the 1970’s. It remained derelict until SM Developments bought the building with a view to transforming it into 3 houses. The 2 dwellings furthest away from the entrance did not allow sufficient access to allow the fire brigade’s hoses to be extended therefore Oxford City Council Building Control officers stipulated the installation of a fire suppression system.


Steven Moss, the MD of the developer researched fire suppression on the internet and discovered Plumis Automist. He was pleased that Oxford City Council Building Control officers validated his choice by also recommending the innovative and highly cost effective product. He had no hesitation in contacting Mainpoint Fire Protection, Automist accredited installers who proposed installing 2 Automist pumps in both properties under the sink in the open plan kitchen/dining area and in an under stair cupboard. Automist uses a high pressure pump to generate a fine water mist from nozzles to suppress any fire. It is also extremely reliable because sensing is based on heat detection as recommended in Approved Document B, effectively eliminating nuisance alarms. It was installed with much less disruption and in a considerably shorter timeframe than fitting sprinklers. It also has the benefit of using less than 6 litres of water per minute per head compared with 65 litres per head used by sprinklers which reduces potential damage to the fabric and furnishings of the property in the event of a discharge and unlike smoke alarms Automist not only alerts residents to the fire but also suppresses it.

Automist is ideal for use in similar refurbishments where access for the fire brigade is restricted and it can be justified as a fire engineered solution, as it minimises fire flash-over by reducing temperatures and improves ambient conditions for fire-fighters.

Plumis Automist facilitates conversion of Art Deco houses

Plumis Automist has been used to provide an innovative fire safety solution for the conversion of a stunning collection of Art Deco houses in Twickenham, midway between the River Thames and Twickenham stadium. The architects, ABA Group of Sunbury on Thames, were keen to preserve the period features whilst achieving the contemporary design they envisaged. The 8 2-bedroom houses all comprised a large, open plan reception room opening onto a kitchen at ground floor level with 2 large double bedrooms on the first floor. The proposed designs provided no separation to protect the escape route.


ABA Group Ltd worked with the appointed Building Control officers to meet the fire safety requirements of the Building Regulations but they were very anxious that the solution did not compromise the high-specification open plan design of the apartments. They discovered Automist and called in Bracknell-based Vapourmist, the accredited installers for the system who provided a design and install service.



Automist gave ABA Group a number of active fire protection options to protect the escape routes and aid evacuation for a fraction of the cost of a traditional sprinkler system. Patrick Amos, ABA’s Director was pleased with Vapourmist’s recommendation.  “Automist gave us complete design flexibility and was simple to install as it could be connected to the domestic water supply. Because it requires much less water than traditional sprinklers, there are great practical advantages in the event of a fire because run off would be minimised and the high-specification fixtures and fittings would not be in danger of being drenched as would be the case with sprinklers. We will definitely consider the use of Automist in similar designs in the future.”