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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Water mist provides a solution for persistent arson attempts

Arson is the no.1 cause of fire in the UK. Since 1997 the number of malicious fires in Britain has risen to more than 123,000 a year; 50 people die in fires started by arsonists and 3,200 are injured. This causes serious problems to the authorities. Camden Council had a severe difficulty with an arsonist housed pre-trial in a temporary shelter who needed to be monitored 24/7 because of the danger of recidivist behaviour. However, there was still a time delay between an hourly round for an attempt at arson, during which time considerable damage to property and life was possible. The cell was fitted with a heat detector which in turn was linked to the communal fire alarm system. Therefore, when the prisoner smoked in their cell the alarm was activated throughout the whole building, causing considerable disruption for residents and staff alike.

Elite Fire Safety Ltd of Northfleet were contacted by the maintenance department of Camden Council to see if they could provide a solution. Following a site meeting at the building Elite Fire Safety Ltd recommended the use of Automist, an active fire protection system which uses a high pressure pump to generate a fine water mist. The existing heat detector was removed from the cell and an independent hard wired with lithium battery back-up battery smoke detector was installed to control the Automist system in addition to activating a flashing beacon fitted in the reception area thus advising the staff on duty that a breach of the rules had occurred. The Automist wall-mounted spray nozzle was hidden behind a protective metal cage to prevent interference. Since Automist was installed the common parts alarm is no longer activated and there is no further requirement for 24 hour monitoring.

The system was activated soon after installation, the arsonist was sprayed with water mist and the fire was controlled. After a second system activation they learnt their lesson, changed their behaviour and there have been no further incidents.

Neil Perring of Elite Fire safety is delighted with the outcome. “Because of the success of this installation, Camden Council is considering using Automist in 4 high risk rooms for arsonists in a dedicated hostel.”

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