During this current pandemic, the distribution warehouses are running at full speed to meet the growing demands of consumers all over the world. Warehouse facilities have a lot of money wrapped up in the racking shelves housing the products they’re storing. It is very essential for these warehouses to stay entirely safe and operational. Perilous incidents like fires can cause severe disruptions to a business’ critical operations and future prosperity. Therefore similar to most business premises, warehouses also require a reliable fire detection system to keep products, staff, and equipment safe from potential damages.
Common causes of warehouse fires
Understanding the common causes of warehouse fires can help all building managers to do the best possible work for fire safety – preventing them before they have the opportunity to start. Here are the top causes of fire damage in warehouses as per NFPA Fire Analysis & Research Report:
- Nearly one-fifth (18%) of warehouse fires were intentionally set. These fires accounted for 32% of the direct property damage in warehouse properties
- Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was the cause of 18% of warehouse fires and 17% of direct property damage
- Arcing is the most common heat source (13% of fires) in warehouse fires
Warehouses present special challenges for fire protection because their contents and layouts are conducive to fire spread and present obstacles to traditional fire detection and suppression efforts. The warehouse racking can create a number of challenges that require very specific fire detection to overcome. Some of the common flammable materials stored in the racks include:
- Materials such as wooden pallets and dust are combustible and can ignite easily, allowing a fire to spread quickly
- The cardboard and plastic packaging goods are wrapped in burns very well
- Also, poorly maintained machinery, including forklifts or conveyor belts, can overheat or create sparks
This makes providing a reliable detection system difficult and requires a specialist detection system such as Distributed Temperature Sensing System to quickly and efficiently provide a fire warning and turn on the fire fighting mechanism if required.
How DTS is better than other detection technologies?
DTS is a great option for warehouse fire detection applications, in comparison to traditional sensors like spot-type smoke, flame or heat detectors, and beam detectors. Such sensors generally get clogged by dust and dirt or blocked by objects which can result in false alarms or a lack of detection when it’s needed most.
Unlike spot detection, DTS delivers consistent protection along the length of the cable no matter its size or configuration. The detection of overheating in the early stages of a developing fire is essential. Fiber optics cable provides effective fire detection within the storage racking itself from floor level to the top of the racks which is not practical with the majority of traditional fire detection systems such as point heat type detectors.
How does DTS help prevent fire breakout?
Because warehouse racking systems can be large and span large distances within a facility, detecting fires can be a challenge and render traditional fire detection processes ineffective as we have learned earlier.