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February 25, 2021

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The Video Surveillance Report 2021

“Focus on smart fire detection to replace Waking Watch”, says Hochiki

Hochiki Europe is calling for local authorities and building owners to focus on incorporating intelligent fire detection into ‘at-risk’ properties, in response to updated National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) guidance on the matter.

Hochiki-WakingWatch-21Introduced as a temporary measure by the NFCC to keep residents safe in buildings with dangerous cladding, the Waking Watch process involves having trained fire wardens present to monitor a building, raise an alarm and evacuate residents if necessary.

The NFCC has recently updated its guidance, advising building owners to move to install fire alarm systems as quickly as possible, with the Government recently committing £30million towards the process of removing Waking Watch. The 24-hour safety patrols can cost building owners millions of pounds each month, with costs often being passed on to leaseholders, through no fault of their own.

In addition to lending its support to this updated guidance, Hochiki Europe is further advocating for the use of hybrid wireless fire detection systems. When installed as a temporary solution while cladding issues are resolved, these systems provide a safe and more cost-effective fire safety alternative for building owners and residents, the company says.

Paul Adams, Marketing Manager, at Hochiki Europe explains: “Not only is it safer and more reliable to install a temporary, intelligent fire detection system in cases where cladding is being examined and replaced, it is also much more cost-effective. According to a recent study by The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, the cost of employing one person undertaking Waking Watch duties exceeds the average cost of installing an alarm system in just three to seven months.”

Hochiki explains that an intelligent fire detection is one where each device on the system, whether hard-wired or wireless, has a unique address, allowing the fire control panel to know exactly where the device is location, its status and in some cases the cause of the alarm – be it smoke, heat, CO, or a combination.

Adams continues: “These wireless systems, such as our Ekho hybrid range, can be easily installed and uninstalled without requiring cabling, minimising disruption to residents. They also operate on a robust, fast response intelligent radio link offering 24/7 monitoring and reporting, and can be maintained from one location within the building.”

The company also notes that hybrid wireless systems may also be repurposed after its initial use to become the primary fire detection system for the whole building – both for individual spaces and the communal areas.

Adams adds: “With an approved system redesign, following BS 5839 Part 1, and an accurate up-to-date radio survey of the building, wireless devices can be relocated and augmented onto the existing fire detection system, to provide a permanent life safety system for the long-term”.

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