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How to protect a City against fire

In our homes we are constantly surrounded by water and yet if a fire breaks out we do not have it at our disposal. In 2012 Bluerad came up with the Blueproof active fire suppression device, which taps into this hidden resource. Since then thousands of such devices have been installed in homes throughout the United Kingdom.

What does the device do?

Blueproof is a revolutionary fire suppressant device that fits to existing heating panels (radiators). The device self-targets the heat source and dis-charges water. This reduces killer smoke and lowers temperatures throughout the home giving extra time to effect escape and to call the emergency services. The device requires no power and has no moving parts.

Blueproof protects life and property against fire in buildings from single occupancy buildings to high-rise apartment blocks not easily accessed by emergency vehicles.

For those who wish to protect their homes, but are put off by the exorbitant cost of fitting current fire suppressant systems Blueproof is the viable alternative. It is not necessary to run new pipes in walls and ceilings, install pumps and electronic control and detection systems. The installation is simple, quick and cost effective.

There has never been a product like this that can achieve similar results, at a fraction of the price of systems costing thousands of pounds.

The Public Risk Management Association (ALARM) has voted Blueproof Product of the year 2016.

So what drove us to the development of this original product?

Blueproof was inspired by the deaths of six children who died in a house fire during 2012.  Realising that there is sufficient water in the average central heating system to suppress a fire, Bluerad set out to devise a way to release that water and use it as a protective barrier against fire.

The Aim

The aim was to bring to the market a fire protection device that could help to stop needless deaths and enhance the safety of the home, office or working environment protecting the lives of families, vulnerable people and their pets during a fire.

How was it conceived?

Through the use of modern materials it was found it could develop an affordable solution that could easily be fitted into homes and deliver fire protection 24/7/365.

Combining high-tech modern materials and proven technology the first prototype was produced in 2012. Since then subsequent prototype development demonstrated that Blueproof far exceeded ISO requirements and the final product now carries the CE mark 0038 verified by Lloyds of London.

What did it have to achieve?

On exposure to fire the device had to deliver a stream of water sufficient to suppress a fire. When water is sprayed onto a fire it turns to steam and expands. A typical heating panel (radiator) holds around six litres of water which when expanded to steam would fill three hot air balloons and easily fill an average room. Water expands immensely when changing from a liquid to a gas, so do not be misled by the size of the panel.

Panels are continually refilled from the central heating system, so there is more than sufficient water available in the system to suppress a fire.

Calculations are one thing but reality is another. During 2012 in New York at ‘Governors Island’ over 20 fully furnished homes were set on fire and it was discovered that a little water had a massive effect on a fire.

This led to temperature reductions not just on the area where the fire was located but throughout the building. So now Bluerad had firm evidence, from a recognised specialist organisation, that when water was added to a fire on the rise we would fight it and cool the whole structure down.

Was there enough pressure in the system?

Full-scale fire experiments undertaken at the Building Research Establishment (BRE) proved the feasibility of the concept. But what was also discovered during these experiments was that the pressure in the heating panels increased dramatically on exposure to the fire. The static pressure rose almost to bursting point.

The water in the panel boils and expands so quickly that the pipes delivering it to and from the panel cannot handle the sudden expansion, as they are just too small. The panel behaves like leaving a kettle left on the boil and the lid flies’ off. This is referred to as ‘blocked in pressure’, a key engineering term used word during hazard analysis.

How did ‘blocked in pressure’ benefit us?

When Blueproof activates it blasts the water out at around 9 bar.

Once the initial spike in pressure has spent it falls and reaches the working pressure of the system where natural forces take over. However a very powerful discharge of water, enough to easily reach several metres, will have been discharged.

But how does this help?

Mist systems eject a fine spray of water that do not have the force to break through the lower smoke layer.

When sprinklers activate toxins are dragged down to low level. However Blueproof can break through the smoke layer. It does not displace the smoke but starts to neutralise it.

What was also found during full-scale fire experiments is that Blueproof self targets the fire. The device forms a nozzle which points at the highest heat source. The highest heat source is not always obvious and that is one reason the Fire Services use thermal imaging cameras. However thermal imaging cameras are not infallible and can give false readings when surfaces are shielded by furnishings.

How does this help during escape from a burning building?

The device will lower temperatures throughout the building and suppress levels of dangerous smoke. It will suppress progression of the fire and therefore buy time for the occupants to escape. Damage to possessions and property will also be reduced.

How does Blueproof self-target the fire?

As the fire spreads the spray from Blueproof  follows it’s progress. This is because the aspect of the device closest to the heat source will release water first.

The device is a co-polymer and as such its precise structure does not remain static it rapidly changes with exposure to the external heat and internal pressure. This combined action causes the self-targeting of the fire.

What if my sofa is in the way? In a full-scale room fire the sofa will be reduced to ashes in a few minutes. It is also likely that hot air will circulate round the walls in convection currents and set off the device.

I have fire retardant materials? Once the fire takes hold they give off higher levels of toxic gas and can burn even hotter and quicker than old traditional furniture.

What is so innovative about the product?

Flashover occurs when the hot ceiling gas comes into contact with air and kills many people during fires, It did not occur during testing as the introduction of water into the smoke limited the temperature of the ceiling gases and kept them below their ignition point.

The water adsorbs the thermal energy from the fire thereby reducing the temperature. This will protect the Fire and Rescue services during the undertaking of their duties and occupants making their escape.

What impact does the product or solution have on those using it? What are the measurable benefits? 

Blueproof provides a peace of mind. If a fire breaks out it provides water where and when it is needed the most. It significantly reduces water damage to property and furnishings. It provides an As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP) solution (in terms of risk based on performance and cost benefit analysis) to your suppression needs.

Activation of Blueproof also helps you to breathe as it reduces oxygen consumption by the fire and reduces the smoke particles thereby helping you to breathe more easily and for longer to aid escape. It does this by setting up a micro-climate throughout the building.

Like all fire suppression devices Blueproof needs a fire to break out to become activated and the temperature in the room to rise. It will not activate on small low temperature fires. Blueproof will provide defence against arson or accelerant being introduced to a home whilst the occupants are sleeping.

What feedback have we received from those that have used the product?

Ecologic Homes fitted the first products into a Victorian house conversion to apartments and saved over £20K compared to the cost of fitting sprinklers. It is fitted to homes and 16 storey tower blocks in the East Midlands making significant savings compared to the cost of fitting conventional systems. It has been fitted to vulnerable children’s homes and schools.

 

Blueproof has also been installed in properties in Europe. It is being trialled and installed by Arms Length Management Organisations, Councils and Fire Authorities throughout the UK.

Where was the product proven?

The product was subjected to full-scale fire experiments at the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and pressure tested at SEETRU Limited which are both European Union (EU) approved facilities. During pressure testing it was found to exceed the temperature and pressure requirements of BS EN 442 (Radiators and convectors. Technical specifications and requirements)and is CE marked 0038 under the European Union (EU) Pressure Equipment Directive harmonised regulations for fire fighting pipe systems.

Where has it been demonstrated?

Blueproof was demonstrated by request during November 2014 at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Test house in Ollerton to various housing associations, architects, housing developers and members of the fire and rescue authorities. The main feedback was “why has this not been done before?” “It performs exactly as they said it would” when operating.

Summary

Blueproof has become a proven product which provides that extra time needed to improve survival chances; It buys time and saves lives. No maintenance is required and constant protection is provided, The device can also be adapted to fit into all homes with or without central heating.

Blueproof has now been adapted to protect kitchens and domestic appliances, and we will post further articles to illustrate how this has been achieved will be posted.

Blueproof is made from high-tech modern materials. It is not expensive to install and by simplicity of design can even be fitted by a competent DIYer to give a level of protection that has never been available before at current pricing.

Get your Blueproof now from this websites webshop. It is currently on offer in respect of it being voted Product of the Year 2016 by ALARM. Protect yourself, your family, loved ones and pets from the threat of smoke and fire.

 

Dave Atkinson BSc. Chem. Eng. an expert on active fire protection and risk management is also an, inventor, speaker and a contributor to LinkedIn groups where this entry was originally featured in December 2016.

If you have any questions about this topic let me know in the comments below. If you think others will benefit from reading this and you enjoyed it please share this post. Or if you are a fellow blogger and are interested in trying Blueproof please drop us an email.

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