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don’t already have substantial firefighting water supplies, there is the dedicated monitor nozzle/ water cannon solution. There are several viable products available for indoor and outdoor use. For example, the Fire Rover product combines intelligent cameras, water cannon turrets and agent tanks that can be repositioned each day, if required. If a hot spot or fire is detected, the heat profile and heat signature will be analysed before the automated system positions the turret and discharges a powerful stream of agent onto the fire. Other suppliers such as Helios Systems Ltd and Blazequel Ltd have combined high capacity Rosenbauer water cannons and high quality PYROsmart thermal imaging cameras to create a highly effective, always-on automated cannon extinguishing system. These systems have a dedicated fire pump

and egress routes from outside the building. With appropriately trained staff, rapid fire team response deploying manual monitor nozzles can be highly successful for early knockdown of a fire. But in general, putting employees into the role of active firefighters is no longer popular across industry, and is not recommended by the fire and rescue services (FRSs).

Automated monitor nozzles Automated monitor nozzles, however, have grown in popularity, given their success at ERFs and other heavy industry sectors. Motorised monitor nozzle turrets are installed to cover indoor areas such as receiving bays, sorting bays and loading bays, as well as outdoor marshalling and storage areas. They are usually complemented with infra red flame detectors positioned nearby, although other forms of roof level fire detection will work for alarm purposes if adequately zoned. The site CCTV cameras are used by trained

supervisors in the control room to verify the location of a potential hot spot or fire, before they rotate and angle the nozzle turrets and press the discharge button. For sites being fitted with roof level sprinklers and the usual fire pump and tank set up, such monitor nozzles can be directly connected to the same water supply, provided the pumps and tanks are sized for both protection measures to be operating at the same time. Discharge capacities for typical monitor

nozzles are up to 1500 litres per minute, so they can rob the roof sprinklers of water if not included in the water supply design. For sites that

and tank supply, with the turrets and cameras fitted at roof level inside a building at multiple locations, or externally if required to protect outdoor waste piles or baled storage. The thermal imaging cameras can be programmed for a range of responses, the most important being to discharge 1000 litres per minute to 1500 litres per minute of water/agent mix onto a verified hot spot or fire. A key element of the sophisticated heat

profile recognition software is to also recognise hot spots that are not likely to be fires. This ensures that the system can hold back from drenching an incoming loading shovel or truck whilst monitoring and verifying the heat signature until it subsides. The cost of these dedicated monitor nozzle/water cannon systems varies greatly and for a site already fitted with sprinklers at roof level, it is difficult to justify the additional expense. For sites without existing roof level sprinklers, they

offer a viable fire protection solution. For the operator, if business continuity of a site is critical, monitor nozzles/water cannons do have their place provided the cost benefit assessment stacks up.

Low level sprinklers

A major concern of insurers in relation to roof level sprinklers is that waste sheds have been constructed ever taller, meaning the vertical clearance between the top of the waste piles and the roof is often 10m or more. Standard sprinkler system design principles are based on fire testing for regular pallet loads of product in ‘normal’ warehouses, with typically 4m or less of clearance above the storage. Waste piles do not conform to ‘normal’

storage profiles, as we know, and when the clearances are more than 6m, it becomes difficult to judge roof level sprinklers in waste handling


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