Finding a Flare for Fire Protection in Europe

Learn how technology such as wireless detection and aspiration smoke detection are impacting Europe.

As such, the products shown at Essen are for the Europe-an market. But the technology that was on display may make it across the Atlantic over time. At ISC West and the NFPA Expo, Honeywell was showing a new line of wireless detectors, similar to what the company was exhibiting in 2012 at Essen. Within a few years, I expect some of the new technology that was being highlighted at this year’s Essen will be available in the U.S., such as more wireless detection and aspiration detection. And at least one manufacturer, Wagner, which was not in the U.S. in 2012, now has a presence.

Mass Notification Differs in Europe

Voice evacuation systems are different in Europe. In the U.S., they are typically a part of the fire alarm system that is within a building. In Europe they are a separate system. Thus, the voice system control is a separate control and system from the fire alarm system. In the U.S., one of the buzzwords within the industry is mass notification. This term does not exist in Europe. For example, Siemens Vice President René Jungbluth has noted, ” … we employ mass notification to quickly notify large numbers of people in emergency situations. In Europe, this topic is still on the sidelines, in stark contrast to the USA. There, very few requests for proposal call for fire safety as a separate discipline.”

The combination of systems will most likely require a change to several EN standards and a different way of looking at integration. This may have a bit of a push as there is work being done through Euralarm, a major trade organization that rep-resents the electronic fire and security industry in Europe. They are developing PEARS, Public Emergency Alarm and Response System, in conjunction with Alert4All, which is a separate organization. Both are working to address wide area mass notification. Many manufacturers that offer products in both the U.S. and Europe are involved, so it might only be a matter of time before other methods of mass notification are considered.

I mentioned that there were only a handful of vendors showing offsite signal transmission equipment. This is chiefly because supervising stations are not used for fire alarm signals in Europe as they are in the U.S. In some countries, such as Italy, systems are local only. In Germany, the receiver is typically at the fire brigade. The signals are for general alarm, supervisory and common trouble. The fire brigade will go to the annunciator at the protected premises upon arrival to obtain information as to the location and cause of the signal. There has been some discussion on getting this information in the responding fire brigade units. However, I do not see the business model that is utilized for the transmission of signals changing.

While the products shown at Essen Security 2014 are not to U.S. standards, the technology is notable as well as seeing the differences between fire alarm systems in Europe and the States. If you have the time, it’s worth considering a visit to the next Essen Security expo in two years.


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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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