Essen Essence: A Broader Life-Safety Perspective

Saying something is very European usually means it is provocative. Similarly, it is across the Atlantic where the adoption of new fire/life-safety technology is often swifter and more progressive than domestically. A recent venture abroad offers a glimpse into our industry’s larger scope.

Some Suppression Systems of Note

A number of manufacturers, including Honeywell and Hochiki (above), presented emergency lighting systems, or integrated emergency lighting that could be connected directly to a building’s life-safety system.While not part of detection, notification or control panels, there were a number of suppression technologies displayed. There were two that drew my attention.

The first was water mist systems. These are starting to make an appearance within the U.S., but are more pronounced in Europe. While in Venice I saw a number of these systems inside the buildings. Water mist systems place a high pressure mist onto a fire. The smaller droplet size increases the evaporation rate, which produces more efficient cooling and inerting. I was impressed by Marioff’s Hi-Fog system.

The second technology of note was one that has been in Europe for several years now, but has not made it to the States. This is a method to reduce the percentage of oxygen within a space so that it will not support fire but still support life. There appears to be a concern on this side of the pond in regard to removing a small percentage of oxygen from the environment of a space. Wagner also displayed its OxyReduct system.            

Shane Clary, Ph.D., has more than 37 years of security and fire alarm industry experience. He serves on a number of NFPA technical committees, and is Vice President of Codes and Standards Compliance for Pacheco, Calif.-headquartered Bay Alarm Co.

 Security Essen Dwarfs U.S.-Based Tradeshows

Germany’s Security Essen tradeshow is held every two years at the Messe Essen complex. To describe how massive this event is, think of ISC West, ASIS and the NFPA Annual Meeting shows combined into one convention within a single venue. Essen 2012 consumed all of the convention center’s 12 halls, with each used primarily for a single industry segment. Similar to how Disneyland and Disney World have separate lands, at Essen one could spend an entire day at each:

  • Fire Detection and Suppression
  • Intrusion Detection
  • Physical Security
  • Armored Vehicles
  • Locks
  • IT Security
  • Access Control

At this year’s event, a number of the larger booths were comprised of two levels. The bottom levels were for display and the top were full-service restaurants and bars. The Europeans also have a different take on the attire of their spokespersons. Several had models who were wearing only body paint; tastefully done, of course.

Some statistics from Security E
ssen 2012:

  • 20th installment of the biannual event
  • Attracted 39,000+ participants from 115 countries
  • Featured 1,086 exhibitors from 40 nations
  • Duration of the show was four days
  • More than 35% of attendees were from abroad
  • Nearly half (46%) of exhibitors were from outside Germany

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About the Author


Shane Clary, Ph.D., is Security Sales & Integration’s “Fire Side Chat” columnist. He has more than 37 years of security and fire alarm industry experience. He serves on a number of NFPA technical committees, and is vice president of Codes and Standards Compliance for Pancheco, Calif.-based Bay Alarm Co.

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