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September 20, 2023

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‘Consistent stream of queries’ on fire performance cables

Questions around correct cabling in critical applications such as for evacuation alarms and emergency communications is an ongoing issue for supply chains and decision makers, say AEI Cables.

The company has been communicating the dangers of not following the technical guidance for the selection and installation of cables for Category 3 Control fire performance cables under the revised British Standard BS8519: 2020.

EvacuationThe systems powered by these cables – including smoke and heat extraction systems – assist fire services in firefighting and a safe evacuation in the case of life safety. Category 3 Control fire performance cables reduce harmful smoke, toxic gases and flame spread in the event of a real fire.

Stuart Dover, General Manager of AEI Cables, said: “We are getting a consistent stream of queries about the selection of these cables from those responsible for the selection and installation of these cables.

“We are happy to provide technical guidance and advice. The issue of the correct selection of these cables has been an ongoing issue for those in the supply chain for some time. We can’t emphasise enough how important it is to get the selection of cables right for these applications.

“If these systems fail because the cable is not able to function properly then the consequences are apparent. Lives and property are at stake here. Category 3 Control fire performance cables reduce harmful smoke, toxic gases and flame spread in the event of a real fire.”

Enhanced cabling for emergency situations 

To date, the awareness campaign by AEI Cables has received support from MP Sharon Hodgson and industry bodies including Electrical Safety First and fire safety membership body The Institution of Fire Prevention Officers (IFPO).

The applications of Category 3 Control fire performance cables applies to evacuation alarms for the disabled in care homes, emergency voice communications systems and voice alarm systems in relevant buildings including tall buildings, office spaces, hospitals, shopping malls and stadia.

The new Code is intended to inform and guide designers, contractors, fire engineers, regulators and enforcers including building control bodies, fire authorities, Health and Safety inspectors and equipment suppliers and manufacturers.

AEI Cables’ Firetec Enhanced cabling is said to be approved and certified by LPCB to BS8519 (Annex B), Category 3 Control in addition to Category 2 Control. The BS Code of Practice under BS8519 contains six categories of cables, three for power cables and three for control cables each covering survival times of 30, 60 or 120 minutes.

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