How can we apply smart firefighting to sprinkler protected high challenge warehouse fires? Christina Francis of Proctor & Gamble has some suggestions and they start with gathering data to determine the current state of the fire.
Currently, it can be difficult for a fire brigade to determine the size and state of a warehouse fire upon arrival. Smoke, steam, and physical obstructions may obscure visual and infrared inspection, requiring hose teams to make estimates based main fire alarm panel data and their familiarity with the area. Rack storage may reach as high as 145 ft. which poses its own challenges for both inspection and fire control.
Christina believes that monitoring real-time data on fire pump status and water flow can provide key information regarding whether a fire has reached a controlled or steady state. If the flow to the sprinklers maintains at the same gallons per minute over a period of ten or more minutes, it is a persuasive indicator that the fire has not grown to require additional sprinklers and is likely in a controlled state.
A website, which she hopes will soon be an app, monitors data on water flow, riser activity, suction pressure, and the amount of flow left at current flow levels. This puts all the data needed on one incident command screen for the best possible information on the current situation. Additionally, push notifications could be set up to notify key people when fire pumps become active. Data made actionable!