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Fire Protection & Prevention



A blaze that destroyed a partially completed laboratory at the University of Nottingham provides a stark reminder of the risks associated with fires on construction sites.

The fire started at 8.36pm on Friday 12 September, when there were no personnel on site, and completely destroyed the timber framed laboratory.

Incidents such as this highlight the vulnerability of construction sites to fire and why companies need to invest in wireless emergency systems to protect both personnel and physical assets during the construction phase.

“The fire at the University of Nottingham is a reminder to our industry that fire is a real threat on site,” said Paul Henson, Sales and Marketing Director at Ramtech Electronics, manufacturer of the innovative Wireless Emergency System. “Thankfully, no one was harmed, however the fire caused irretrievable loss of assets and property as well as disrupting businesses and residences in the vicinity.”

The Wireless Emergency System (WES) developed by Ramtech Electronics consists of fire protection (FP1) and heat detection units, linked to a central, monitoring base station. In the event of a fire, the system triggers a 122dB decibel siren and a visual strobe light, allowing personnel to evacuate the site.

At the same time, the base station allows the fire officer to instantly identify which fire protection (FP1) and heat detection unit has been activated, allowing fire and rescue teams to be deployed more effectively to the exact source of the fire.

Once the construction site is complete, the Wireless Emergency System, which requires no cables and is battery-powered, can simply be moved to the next construction site. Being wireless means it requires no specialist trades to install.

Wireless emergency systems offer specific benefits over conventional wired or manual systems, by providing the highest level of protection for personnel and physical assets.

Ramtech’s latest version of its Wireless Emergency System (WES) has generated a huge amount of interest from Health & Safety professionals and fire safety experts in both the UK and Europe. Being plug ‘n play installation means the technology is easy to set up, whilst offering a practical solution that fulfils latest regulatory requirements in terms of fire safety, alarm and evacuation procedures.

Construction sites have a significantly higher risk of fire than a completed building, because of the combination of various ignition sources, extremely hazardous techniques, such as welding structural elements and hot melt on roofs, vehicles and electrical installations and the increased volume of combustible materials.

Ramtech’s WES technology has been used on world-famous projects such as London Heathrow airport, the London Olympics, the Crossrail underground, King’s Cross railway station, Leadenhall – ‘Cheese Grater’, Sellafield Nuclear Plant, I Tower Bridge and the Tate Modern.

“The cost of a wireless emergency system is typically a fraction of a percentage of the whole construction cost,” added Paul. “The fire at the University is a reminder of just how dangerous a construction site is. Thankfully, no one was injured in this particular case.”

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service is working with the university and its contractors to investigate the cause of the fire.

For more information on Ramtech and WES visit: www.wesfire.co.uk or call 00 44 (0) 115 957 8282


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