Fire is a serious threat to both residential and commercial properties, causing damage and destruction that can lead to loss of life, homes, and businesses. The good news is that technology has made significant advancements in recent years, providing new tools to combat fires safely and effectively.
Here are five technological advancements that are helping to keep people and properties safe from fires.
#1 Smoke and Fire Detection Systems
Smoke and fire detection systems are essential tools for preventing fires from spreading and causing extensive damage. Traditional smoke detectors rely on an alarm that sounds when smoke is detected, alerting occupants to the potential danger. However, newer smoke detectors use advanced sensors and algorithms to detect smoke and fire earlier and more accurately.
One example is Google’s Nest Protect, which uses a combination of heat, carbon monoxide, and smoke sensors to detect fires and send alerts to users’ smartphones. There are also many other advanced systems used in detecting fires and smoke. They, too, use advanced AI and machine learning algorithms for analyzing sensor data and predicting potential fires before they happen.
#2 Fire Suppression Systems
In order to quickly extinguish fires and stop them from spreading, several types of fire suppression systems have been designed. These suppression systems mostly include water-based systems, foam-based systems, and gas-based systems.
Water-based systems are the most common and use sprinklers to douse fires with water. Gas-based systems use chemicals like carbon dioxide or halon to smother fires, while foam-based systems use a combination of water and foam to extinguish fires.
Newer fire suppression systems are more efficient and effective than traditional systems, using advanced technology to detect fires quickly and accurately. For example, some systems use infrared cameras to detect heat signatures and pinpoint the location of the fire. Once the fire is detected, the system releases the appropriate suppression agent to quickly extinguish the fire.
When choosing a foam-based suppression system, avoid using firefighting foam that contains toxic chemicals. The Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF Firefighting Foam), for instance, has been found to contain forever chemicals that can lead to a wide range of health problems, including prostate cancer, testicular cancer, bladder cancer, breast cancer, etc.
Firefighters and other personnel who have developed cancer due to such exposure have filed an AFFF Lawsuit against the manufacturers. The AFFF foam lawsuits are still ongoing, and people who have gotten sick due to the AFFF exposure can still seek legal help and representation to get compensation.
According to TorHoerman Law, over the last decade, victims of the AFFF lawsuit have received over $4 billion in verdicts and settlements. This goes to show just how devastating of an impact toxic firefighting foam can have on its users.
#3 Fireproof Building Materials
Fireproof building materials are another technological advancement that helps combat fires. Traditional building materials like wood and drywall are highly flammable and can easily ignite and spread fires. However, new materials like fire-resistant glass, steel, and concrete are more resistant to heat and flames, making them less likely to catch fire.
One example of fire-resistant building materials is intumescent coatings, which are applied to steel structures and expand when exposed to heat, creating a protective barrier against fire. Other fire-resistant materials include fire-resistant insulation, fire-resistant drywall, and fire-rated doors and windows.
#4 Thermal Imaging Cameras
Thermal imaging cameras help combat fires by detecting heat signatures and pinpointing the location of the fire. These cameras use infrared technology to detect the temperature of objects and surfaces, allowing firefighters to see through smoke and identify hot spots and potential fire sources.
Thermal imaging cameras are particularly useful in situations where visibility is limited, such as in dense smoke or darkness. They can also be used to detect hot spots in electrical systems or machinery, helping to prevent fires before they start.
Drones are a relatively new technology that is being used to combat fires by providing aerial support to firefighters. Drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras can quickly and accurately detect hot spots and potential fire sources from the air, allowing firefighters to focus their efforts on the areas that need the most attention.
You can also have drones map the spread of fires. In doing so, you’ll be able to acquire real-time data and then hand it over to the firefighters on the ground. This will help them efficiently suppress and deal with the fire as they’ll get to make more informed decisions regarding unit and resource deployment.
Such drone-based techniques are very helpful when dealing with wildfires. Since these fires tend to spread a lot faster compared to urban fires, understanding how they might spread is of utmost importance to firefighters to properly suppress them.
When it comes to fire-suppressing technologies, we’ll surely continue to make more progress over time. The technologies listed above, so far, have been helpful, but we still have a long way to go to make the most of these technologies and the benefits they can provide when it comes to fighting fires.