Adding a wireless sensor network to fire extinguishers in large facilities or on sprawling campuses allows facilities managers to continuously ensure that the extinguishers are operational, present, and unobstructed rather than relying on a manual inspection every 30 days.
The use of wireless sensor networks (WSNs) for life-safety applications in commercial settings is on the rise. Traditionally, wireless sensors in physical security applications are used for perimeter monitoring, intrusion detection, and mobile duress where users carry personal panic buttons around with them. Now, these technologies have been applied to fire extinguisher monitoring. Fire extinguishers are important from a safety and regulatory compliance perspective and are often subject to vandalism, pressure loss, or obstruction from view. With a properly installed WSN, fire extinguishers can be monitored on a real-time basis, contributing to lower costs and increased safety. Additionally, fire extinguisher monitoring solutions keep schools, government buildings, and private organizations’ facilities compliant with local fire codes and ready to respond to emergencies.
For a commercial environment there is traditionally a 30-day inspection required for each fire extinguisher. However, incidents still can occur within the 30-day period, leaving extinguishers on commercial properties vulnerable to theft, malfunction, and obstruction.
By installing a WSN to monitor each fire extinguisher on a real-time basis, the 30-day inspection becomes unnecessary because operators are provided with daily status updates and receive alarm messages if an extinguisher is removed, discharged, or becomes blocked. This provides building owners with an early warning and allows them to respond quickly when there are safety concerns. With WSNs operating in the 900 MHz spectrum in particular, the operator can expect highly stable facility coverage that will withstand heavy interference, which often is a concern when considering wireless options. A solid 900 MHz wireless system uses a repeater network to enhance the system’s range and reliability. Wireless monitoring also ensures that, during annual inspections, organizations will meet fire codes and avoid hefty fines for missing, blocked, or depressurized fire extinguishers.
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