Keeping track of things when every second counts
Voice alarms can now be controlled via a graphic touch screen display of the fire alarm system. In the event of an emergency evacuation, this saves valuable time and can save lives.
By Johannes Stauber, Group Leader Product Management Fire Alarm Systems at Bosch Building Technologies.
It is one of the most important tasks for any building or security manager: to be as well equipped and prepared as possible for an emergency. This includes knowing exactly what happens when the fire alarm is triggered and a building has to be evacuated as quickly as possible. Then every move has to be right, because every second counts. You have to be able to see where the fire is located and which rooms and floors have to be evacuated first. The prerequisite for this is to get an immediate overview of the entire situation and to be able to control and monitor all necessary measures from a central location.
In order to get this complete overview, it is necessary that fire alarm and voice alarm systems are not only networked, but the alarms and status messages also converge in one place and that the two different security systems are coordinated with one another. So much for the ideal solution. Unfortunately, the reality is still different in many places: There are sometimes adventurous, hand-knitted solutions where the fire alarm control panel and voice alarm system are operated manually in one place, but still as two separate systems. Installation and operation are complex and cost valuable time in an emergency.
IP connection between fire alarm and voice alarm systems
For several years now, Bosch has been offering the “Smart Safety Link” for the integration of fire alarm and voice alarm systems, via which the two systems can be connected in an IP-based manner. The IP connection takes the place of several relay-based connections per evacuation zone. Because fewer cables have to be laid, installation time and costs are reduced. Because the IP connections are continuously monitored, the operation of the system becomes more secure – the probability of errors is reduced.
Depending on the size of the building, one or more voice alarm systems can be connected to the fire alarm control panels. Interface modules between the voice alarm systems can be omitted, which simplifies the system design and increases reliability.
Evacuation step by step by zone
In the event of an alarm, the fire alarm system activates the corresponding zone of the evacuation system. Integration via Smart Safety Link enables functions such as voice-guided evacuation of buildings, graded according to zones. Rooms or floors can be addressed individually and evacuated one after the other depending on the danger situation. This facilitates an orderly evacuation and helps to avoid panic.
While technical integration via IP has been continuously simplified for years using new versions of Smart Safety Link, there has now been a major leap in development with the integrated operation of fire alarm systems and voice alarms: Bosch has launched a new generation of fire alarm control panels under the name Avenar. The new series marks a milestone in fire protection and supports the change towards integrated smart building solutions based on the Internet of Things (IoT). Avenar panels 2000 and 8000 offer significant improvements in terms of scalability, computing power, integrability and user-friendliness. This enables security officers and building operators to have a significantly higher level of security and control.
A common graphical user interface for both security systems
Whereas in the past two separate user interfaces were often required to control the fire alarm system and the voice alarm system, Avenar panel enables joint control via a display with a graphical, intuitive user interface, called eMatrix. With the 7-inch touchscreen, eMatrix is a technical innovation. The status of the connected fire protection equipment and evacuation zones is displayed at any time using colors (red-yellow-green).
If protective measures are automatically initiated by the security system in the event of an alarm, the security staff receives continuous feedback. It has an overview of the entire situation, can monitor all measures and, if necessary, intervene manually at any time. In the event of a fire, the fire protection equipment is controlled via the start menu, including door control as well as heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Important manual commands for processing alarms and messages are given by touching icons. Evacuation is initiated by means of sounders, stroboscopic light or voice announcements by touching an EVAC pictogram. The displayed feedback on the course of the initiated measures allows the security staff to react immediately to the changing situation at any time.
At Bosch, Avenar panel 2000 replaces the 1200 series fire alarm panel for smaller projects; it supports up to four rings instead of two in the previous model and thus serves as an extended solution for small to medium-sized applications with up to 512 connected fire detectors and reporting points. Avenar panel 2000 can be operated as a fire protection network distributed over a building, which saves cabling costs. In addition, Avenar panel 2000 simplifies the planning and purchasing process for system integrators because it is a modular system that can be expanded as required.
Avenar panel 8000 is the solution for larger installations, replaces the modular fire control panel of the 5000 series and supports up to 32 rings with up to 4096 fire detectors and reporting points per control panel.
Both fire alarm systems support the current generation of fire alarms based on Local Security Network (LSNi) connections as well as call stations and other important system components. The new fire control panels can be integrated into existing network architectures, for example in the modular fire control panel of the 5000 series from Bosch.
Fire alarm centers and voice alarm systems form a network
Both Avenar panels support current Ethernet system architectures with fast 100Mbit data transmission. Four external Ethernet interfaces enable fire alarm control panels and voice alarm systems to be networked to form a network, as well as connection to building management systems and other security technology, including remote services for cloud-based control and maintenance.
The combination of Smart Safety Link and eMatrix display of the Avenar panels raises the monitoring, control and management of fire alarm and evacuation systems to a new level in terms of overview and usability. This makes the use of life-saving security technology much more efficient and the life of building managers easier. Good for fire protection. Good for security.