IoT Unlocks a New Era for Fire Safety & Response
Imagine this: You’re at your office desk when the fire alarm sounds, and you start heading towards the nearest exit. On your way out, you wonder where the potential fire is located – are you headed the safest route? Will the fire department know where to go? Meanwhile, the fire department is in transit, they are gathering information to know where the fire is before arriving on site. Not only do they know the location of the fire, but they now see the building’s blueprints, compliance activity and have a plan of attack. This is the future of fire safety, with technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile data and cloud computing.
For years, the fire industry has faced challenges with facility shutdowns, reduced staff and effectively managing incidents with limited resources and information. Despite developments made in safety equipment and emergency response, the greatest complication fire technicians still face today are the unknown factors they have to deal with when they arrive on scene, where risks remain the same no matter the occupancy level.
The move towards a more digitalized and connected model can alleviate some of the challenges the industry faces, like limited access due to building lockdowns. In fact, today’s global environment is demanding the industry to innovate with solutions that enable facility managers and system integrators to monitor their systems and diagnose issues at any time and from anywhere. Technologies like IoT can make this a reality.
Incorporating these tools into a fire system not only enhances the way first responders approach a fire but provides them with real-time and up-to-date information that can potentially shave off minutes of coordination, questions and human interaction, so responders can go directly to the source. IoT and cloud solutions can also mitigate damage to the broader building by detecting where exactly the fire is and the nature of it so emergency responders can deploy specific measures tailored to the location of the fire. Other capabilities include remote monitoring and early diagnostics so preventative methods can be taken.
Companies of all sizes have started rolling out scalable solutions that address the industry’s growing need to improve safety and drive operational efficiencies. Honeywell recently unveiled the first all-in-one smart fire IoT innovation system for emergency response called CLSS (Connected Life Safety Services). The system transforms how fire technicians approach emergencies by addressing issues pertaining to incomplete or inaccurate information of an onsite situation, false alarms and more – all though a mobile app.
Without being in the building, maintenance technicians and emergency responders can now use the Honeywell CLSS mobile app to monitor an entire fire system to see – in real-time – which devices are activated, which devices may soon malfunction, diagnose problems before entering a building, identify false alarms, comply to regulations, and more. The system can also enable fire detections to minimize disruption with less site visits and reduce the time needed for system design, installation and commissioning of new projects.=
Using systems like CLSS that leverage digital technologies can also show users which institutions are in alignment with mandated inspection and maintenance requirements.
While digital technologies like IoT aren’t new to the fire and life safety industry, the long-term benefits associated with implementing such systems haven’t fully been realized. To be fully prepared for the disruptive changes ahead, the industry needs to prioritize and adopt digitalization across all aspects of its operations. We no longer need to imagine the future state of fire safety, it’s already here.
About the Author
This article was written by Sameer Agrawal, General Manager, Global Fire Software and Services, Honeywell.