What is Blueproof?
Blueproof is a device which attaches to your heating panels/radiators (or your mains pipes).
Made from high-tech materials, the surface of Blueproof responds to heat exposure and will directly self-target a fire by acquiring the highest heat source. Blueproof not only puts water onto the fire when and where you need it the most but it also reacts in record time. The average response time of a conventional sprinkler system is 90 seconds Blueproof average activation is 43.5 seconds. This gives you superior protection at a fraction of the cost. Blueproof is also the first system to target and reduce deadly smoke concentration allowing you to breath and can prevent fatal flash over conditions. Powerless and self-activating it requires no human intervention to work once fitted.
How does it work?
Small Blueproof heads are fitted onto your radiators where the radiator ‘bleed valves’ are normally located. They are made from a co-polymer material that is “heat seeking”. If a fire breaks out it is automatically detected, the device swells out into the direction of the heat. Then Blueproof’s specially designed, highly-engineered head bursts open and release a fine mist of water into the room, which dampens and suppresses the fire. This can buy you valuable time to get safe and call the fire service.
An animated presentation on how the device works can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBk3XI5oEQg on our YouTube channel.
Won’t the water burn me?
No – as it leaves the radiator, it cools so although it won’t harm you it WILL still harm the fire. During full-scale fire tests the temperature at a level of one meter throughout the burn chamber fell to around 50o centigrade. That temperature is lower than a thermal steam bath which runs at 56 oC . Outside the chamber the escaping steam was warm to the touch.
Will my radiators run out of water?
This is where Blueproof is really clever. One fifth of a teaspoon of water swells to the size of a small plastic drinks bottle when it is heated and becomes steam, so the radiator in your room has more than enough water to douse a fire.
Radiators work on an open system so the water from the surrounding radiators will flow into the one that is releasing the water. The whole system has to drain and most systems have direct connections to the mains water supply.
A fire suppressant device?
It has been shown to fight fires and suppresses them proving a level of protection. It will give people time to escape. Plus it will suppress the smoke and fumes which, of course, kill more people than the actual fire. Literally allowing you more breathing room to escape.
What if I don’t have central heating?
You can fit Blueproof to ordinary water pipes too.
What happens if a fire breaks out?
Most fires reach in excess of 750 oC in just two minutes. The heat given off from the fire raises the pressure in the radiator rapidly. Radiators are designed to transmit heat and in reverse absorb heat.
This high pressure drives the water from Blueproof directly into the highest heat source. The water vaporises in contact with the heat and absorbs the heat energy. Cooling the room.
Should I have a smoke alarm too?
The two things are completely separate – but the more protection you have, the safer you are!
How long will they last?
We recommend that you change them every five years.
How does it cool the whole house down?
GOVERNORS ISLAND, N.Y. July 3, 2012,
The Underwriters’ Laboratories partnered with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the New York City Fire Department, and the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation to exploit rigorous scientific methods to advance fire-fighter safety. The collaborative research team worked together for months to design the experiments that were conducted over six days in July on Governors Island in New York City and consisted of a series of live-burn experiments that replicated conditions in modern homes.
These experiments demonstrated that getting water directly onto the fire compartment, as soon as possible, resulted in the most effective means of suppressing the fire and that very little water was required to achieve this effect. In full scale fire testing of Blueproof in the UK the same dramatic falls in temperatures were recorded.
With Blueproof fitted you are protected 24/7/365.
The experiments presentation “Fire tactics and behaviour” can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2JcNonr4us.
How does it stop smoke?
When Blueproof activates it swirls the released water jet in a cyclonic action and breaks up the water droplets into a fine mist. The force of the jet breaks through the smoke layer the water then heats to steam and expands. The process scrubs out the smoke by bonding to the smoke layer. In full scale lab testing this behaviour was recorded for the very first time in history on a small and large scale fire.
Children are more susceptible to smoke for several reasons: their respiratory systems are still developing; they breathe more air (and air pollution) per pound of body weight than adults. So the smoke will affect your children before it affects you. (Source Airnow.gov) Pets and the elderly are also at risk for similar reasons.
How does it stabilise the oxygen?
When Blueproof activates the fire is enveloped by the expanding water vapour that attacks the flame front. As the area becomes full of water vapour the fire becomes suppressed which slows the oxygen consumption. In full scale testing on a small and large scale fire the oxygen stabilised within the first seconds.
Does Blueproof need power?
No Blueproof is powerless.
Will Blueproof work with other Systems?
Yes, Blueproof is compatible with all other system and will work alongside them but is superior in many ways. It is sited differently and reacts to the heat faster but once activated it will self-target and spays the water into the heat layer and will scrub the smoke. A sprinkler cannot do this and fine mist droplet sizes are too large to scrub the smoke. The sprinkler will drop the water onto the fire to suppress it, whereas fine mist will flood it. It would add a greater level of protection to area’s requiring extra protection such as those housing expensive articles. But most systems rely on electrical power to operate. Blueproof is completely powerless.
Q&A GUIDANCE ON BLUEPROOF
Q. How is Blueproof categorised?
A typical water spray system comprises of a Deluge system control valve, a sprinkler or Multiple Control operated detection system and a dedicated water supply system (dedicated means separate to the mains supply). The size of the Deluge valve, its flow rate, the system water supply pressure and type of detection system are all determined by the size and type of fire risk involved.
Water spray systems are one of the most expensive fire protection systems on the market and extensively used throughout industry to protect a wide variety of plant equipment and hazardous materials involving hydrocarbons. Typical applications include boiler feed pumps, diesel engines, hydraulic oil systems, offshore oil and gas installations and steel mills.
Blueproof now brings water spray technology to the home and more.
Within the home Blueproof brings an integrated control and activation device that supplies a flow rate and pressure determined by the type and size of the fire. It uses water already available within radiators hanging from the walls and backed up by the water supply and adjoining interconnected radiators.
During a typical house fire Blueproof may deliver pressure up to 7 bar (100 psi) this is in excess of an industrial high velocity nozzle at 80 psi. The pressure starts to fall when the temperature falls within the vicinity as Blueproof suppresses the fire. During full scale fire experiments pressure up to 9 bar (130) was recorded. The faster the fire develops the higher the pressure becomes. Blueproof automatically self targets the fire and its movement, which no other device can do.
Water spray systems fall into two categories, Medium and High Velocity. Medium Velocity Water spray systems are ideal for the protection of indoor process areas involving the manufacture of paint, printing inks and synthetic rubber. Within the petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries, the systems are used to protect all areas involved in the production, storage and loading of highly flammable liquids and gases.
High Velocity Water Spray systems are extensively used throughout industry to rapidly suppress fire and protect a wide variety of plant equipment and hazardous materials involving oils with a flash point above 66oC. Typical applications include boiler feed pumps, diesel engines, hydraulic oil systems and steel mills. Industry not use sprinklers because they cannot activate in a zone to stop any fire spread or give area protection.
Blueproof has a varying K-factor because the discharge co-efficient changes with the ferocity of the fire. The orifice size is not fixed as it is also dependant on the temperature of the fire. The hotter the fire the faster Blueproof discharges the water. In fire protection engineering the K-factor formula is used to calculate the discharge rate from a nozzle.
Q. Will I be hit by the water discharge from Blueproof?
A. No, Blueproof targets the highest heat source. If the heat source shifts then the spray follows it. This was proven in a full scale fire experiment by recording the movement by thermal imaging camera.
Q. Does a sofa or other furniture impede the operation of Blueproof?
A. In a house fire, a sofa can be reduced to ashes in around 8 minutes. Hence a sofa or other furniture only slows down the operation of the device by seconds. Operation of Blueproof is assured because heat will rise to the ceiling and come down the walls as convection currents.
Q. Will Blueproof operate under normal operating conditions when my central heating system is turned on?
A. No, Blueproof operates when the temperature is above the normal operating conditions of home systems and has been successfully trialled and tested in tower blocks at higher operating temperatures and pressure than normal. Blueproof has been installed on fully functioning home central heating systems for over two years with no leaks or failures.
Q. At what temperature does Blueproof activate?
A. Blueproof activates at around 250 C in a house fire. The temperature in the room rises rapidly to upwards of 800 C in seconds.
If there is direct flame impingement Blueproof operates even quicker, in seconds. That’s if the fire occurs close to the radiator and the flames touch the surface.
Q. What is Fire?
A. Fire is the visible effect of the process of combustion – a special type of chemical reaction. It occurs between oxygen in the air and some sort of fuel.
The flame is the visible part you see at the interface.
Q. What is the fuel?
A. Any material with the potential energy to be released as heat energy. A conflagration is one term used for the great and destructive fire that threatens human life, animal life, health, and/or property. It may also be described as a blaze or simply a (large) fire.
Q&A FIRE SAFETY LAW
Q. What does legislation call for throughout the UK?
A. Legislation is largely identical in terms of what applies in each country and what has to be done to comply.
Q. Where does it apply?
A. All premises and almost all types of building, structure and open space.
Q. Where does it not apply?
A. Private homes, including individual flats in a block or house. In England and Wales it applies to the common parts of flats and HMOs. (Staircases and corridors.)
Q. What do I need to do if I am responsible?
A. Carry out a fire risk assessment and reduce risk to As Low As Reasonably Practical. (ALARP.)
Q. What is ALARP?
A. As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP) is a term used under law to establish an acceptable level of risk. It forms the basis for cost benefit analysis and is one of the fundamental principles of risk management. Risk does not need to be managed to the point where it is eliminated because to do so is simply not a good use of resources.
Q. What is a fire-risk assessment?
A. There are many forms of fire risk assessment and advice can be obtained from your local Community Safety Manager. The Fire Industry Association produce an excellent Best Practice Guide to Fire Safety but this does not identify the means to evaluate and assess the risk.
Q. What is the risk profile concept?
A. The tools for risk assessment and risk management are available from ISO. A fire risk assessment is undertaken for the building based on its use, fabric and profile, however no two buildings or rooms are the same. Checklists are constructed or consulted and risk is ranked against a risk matrix. The matrix displays the level of risk. The goal to ensure that the risk is ALARP.
Q. Can anyone construct a risk profile?
A. Yes, up to a point. However, the risk profiling also addresses other threats outside the common knowledge of most, such as escape and evacuation, explosion and dispersion.
Q. What is the impact of Blueproof on ALARP?
A. Blueproof is the most cost effective active fire suppression system. It cannot be argued in terms of cost benefit analysis or Blueproof’s performance standards do not bring risk to ALARP.
Q. Who enforces fire safety law?
A. Fire Authorities are the main agency for enforcing the law.
Q&A REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO BUILDING WORK
Q, What do the Building Regulations require?
A. That a fire suppression system is fit for purpose.
Q. What is the Buildings Regulations Approved Document B?
A. Document B is the guidance which is governed by Statutory Instrument (SI) 2010/2014. It provides design guidance for building works as prescribed by the SI.
Approved Document B:
· Is intended for the life cycle of the building applicable to both new and existing buildings
· Has an expectation relating to the fire safety management of the building
· Allows flexibility of design by taking into account the physical and human factors
· Takes into account a package of fire safety measures, one of the most important measures being management
· Sits between Approved Document B and Fire Engineering
· Is easy to use, logical prescriptive guidance.
· Introduces the risk profile concept.
Q. Does the inclusion of fire suppression systems in Document B now mean that all buildings should have a sprinkler system fitted?
A. No. Requirement B3(3) requires a suitable automatic fire suppression system where necessary.
Q. Does a fire suppression system mean a sprinkler system?
A. No. The Document states: “There are many alternative or innovative fire suppression systems available. Where these are used, it is necessary to ensure that such systems have been designed and tested for use in buildings and are fit for their intended purpose.” Blueproof is fit for purpose. It is the only device that has been tested and proven on a multi floor building.
Q. What is considered reasonable?
A. In any particular case it will depend on the size and intended use of the building. ALARP is a gauge of the reasonable level of risk. For more information on ALARP see the above section question Q&A Fire Safety Law: Q. What is ALARP?
Q. Do I need LABC (Local Authority Building Control) to fit Blueproof?
A. No, not if it is fitted to existing properties not undergoing structural change. Blueproof is not part of the fabric of the building.
Q. Is Blueproof part of the building works?
A. No. Blueproof is not a construction product.
The regulations apply to any ‘building work’ and therefore you will need to make an application before proceeding. The definition of ‘building work’ is contained within the regulations.
Q. Is fire suppression a mandatory requirement under UK law?
A. No. Under Welsh legislation fire suppression is a mandatory requirement. In such legislation, no products such as sprinklers, deluge, dry powder or mist systems are named. It is not the Government’s or Fire Authorities position to promote, design or name a commercial product.
Q. Does Blueproof require certification?
A. No. Blueproof not being part of the fabric of the building, hence does not come under ISO or British Standards. Certification is applicable to systems regulated by Codes and Standards.
Q. Is Blueproof a sprinkler?
A, The term sprinkler refers to the dispersion plate placed below the outlet from a nozzle that is held closed by a frangible bulb. The plate sprinkles the water on release. The frangible bulb releases the water when the room temperature reaches a critical point.
Blueproof activates more quickly than a frangible bulb as its activation is not impeded by the plate. A sprinkler will give a set pattern. It may not cover the whole area.
Blueproof follows the movement of the flame and self targets.
Q. Is Blueproof a mist system?
A. No. a mist system dispels water through a pre determined nozzle to provide fine droplets of water into the fire chamber and relies on a high pressure pump and electronic activation. In contrast to Blueproof the mist droplet size is too large to efficiently cleanse the smoke. The force involved in dispersion of the mist is insufficient to break through the smoke boundary layer at the ceiling. Ideally the nozzles should be sited centrally and directed towards the ceiling. Blueproof disperses the water directly at the highest heat source where ever it is with sufficient force to penetrate smoke.
Q. Do dispersion layout patterns apply to Blueproof?
A. No. Dispersion layout patterns apply to a known deluge pattern in the downward plane from a sprinkler or deluge nozzle. Blueproof can propel the water in all directions even in the vertical plane to attack a fire. No other device can achieve this so it gives coverage throughout its available line of sight.