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Intelligent fire detection replaces ‘Waking Watch’ for North London Borough apartments

31 May 2022

EKHO, THE newest hybrid wireless fire detection solution developed by life safety systems manufacturer Hochiki, has been installed in six blocks of apartment buildings for a North London Borough to help improve fire detection.

EN54-25 approved and RED compliant, Ekho uses the latest in radio networking technology and provides a robust ‘always on’ network of devices which automatically adapt to changing environmental conditions.

It was this particular design element, in fact, that led Fire Alarm Fabrication Services (FAFS) – itself a specialist when it comes to the design, installation, commissioning and servicing of open protocol automatic fire detection and alarm systems – to consult with Hochiki on this project.

Ekho takes hybrid wireless fire detection to “new levels of reliability, flexibility and performance” and has been crucial in helping residents to feel safer in their homes as well as drive cost savings for building owners.

‘Waking Watch’ schemes have been used for the last few years to provide 24/7 monitoring of buildings identified as being ‘at risk’ due to the presence of potentially dangerous cladding. With the inherent high operational costs, and the risk of human error, building owners and local authorities are looking to life safety solution manufacturers and installers to help with reliable and cost-effective solutions while such cladding is replaced.

Self-configuring mesh network

Commenting on the project, Kevin Dodge (sales account manager at FAFS) explained: “The technology used in the Ekho devices helps residents feel safer compared to them being asked to rely on a team of people who may be prone to human error. The building owners are reassured due to the self-configuring mesh network, which keeps the devices connected and communicating with the fire panel on a 24/7 basis.”

The project covers a huge site with six buildings of 16 floors in each. A ‘Waking Watch’ team of six individuals was patrolling the stairs, corridors and communal areas at a cost of £10,000 per week. However, because the teams could not be in all places at all times, they might not have been able to detect a fire escalating along the cladding on the external facades of the structures.

In addition, ‘Waking Watch’ teams are not permitted to enter private apartments, meaning that early detection could be missed here as well.

“This was an incredibly complex and highly involved project,” continued Dodge. “We worked closely with the team at Hochiki who consulted on the best devices for this project. The Ekho range offered a wireless solution which allowed us to work around issues such as cabling inside private spaces. Ekho allowed for early detection and, most importantly, detection outside of the building on cladding thanks to the installation of heat sensor devices adjacent to every single window, including the windows for individual dwellings.”

Dodge concluded: “The Ekho range is ultra-dependable and much more cost-effective than the ‘Waking Watch’ scheme that was in place in these buildings.”

Enormous difference

Following the successful completion of the project, Hochiki’s regional sales manager Tony Obadipe stated: “We’re pleased that our Ekho product range is making such an enormous difference in keeping people safe. The fact that our technology is also helping to drive huge cost efficiencies for our partners and their end users is a bonus.”

Obadipe added: “In the current economic climate this cost saving is essential, and especially so for local authorities. We’re incredibly proud of our teams that have been involved in this project. Their work is protecting people’s lives.”

*To read the full Case Study and learn more about the Ekho range visit hochikieurope.com