Smart Smoke and Heat Detectors
According to a report by U.S. Fire Administration (U.S.F.A) published in 2020, over one million fire incidences occurred in 2019, causing a total of 3,704 deaths, 16,600 injuries, and a loss of 14.8 billion dollars. Extending the research on a global level, especially in third-world countries, the losses brought about by fire are unimaginable.
Fig. 1. Fires 2010-2019
Source: U.S.F.A website (link: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/data/)
Subsequently, the report also showed that residential places had the leading fire incidences and also led to the highest number of deaths. The causes of these fires were determined to be cooking, heating, accidents, and electrical malfunctions. For the fatal incidences, the following were the causes of the fires;
Fig. 2. Causes of Fires
Source: U.S.F.A website (link: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/data/)
In addition, another report by the National Fire Protection Association showed that approximately seventy-five per cent of all fires in America occur in a home without smoke detectors or defective smoke detectors (Ahrens 3). Looking at these numbers, it is obvious that smoke detectors play a significant role in fire detection and prevent loss of life and property. Further, smoke detectors are the safest way to mitigate incidents of fire because they detect the smoke before the fire has spread out, unlike other mitigation factors like the firefighters and fire extinguishers, which require to be physically handled while putting out the fire. As a result, this has led to the deaths of many firefighters. However, the normal smoke detectors have not been as efficient as expected because they can be too sensitive to smoke, even from cooking, which can lead to false alarms and unnecessary flooding of buildings. Further, traditional smoke detectors cannot sense smouldering fire and contain radiation material, which is concerning.
Fig. 3. A Picture of Traditional Smoke Detector
Source: (“How Smoke Detectors Work- Ionization Smoke Detectors-Enggcyclopedia”)
One of the most advanced smoke detectors today is one that uses the internet of Things (IoT). IoT is described as a new innovative model imagined as being composed of a worldwide network of machines and devices, all capable of interacting with each other (Lee, In, and Kyoochum 431). The IoT is becoming popular, especially in smart houses whereby it can be controlled using a private home connection, all connected to personal devices like laptops and phones. Accordingly, this means that the IoT smoke detectors are equipped with sensors that can detect signs of fire. Upon sensing, the smoke detector sends out a signal to one’s phone, the fire department, and any other emergency services information input in the system. In addition, in smart houses with many network-connected systems, the owner can activate fire-extinguishing systems through their phones, like water pipes, all of which work to put out the fire (Rayimkulov 217). Notably, the IoT smoke detector does not only detect one sign of fire like traditional smoke detectors. Instead, the advanced smoke detector comes equipped with sensitivity to smoke, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and heat and can sound an alarm (Oh et al. 2).
Fig. 4. Image of an IoT Smoke Detector
Source: (Yardeni et al.)
Fig. 5. The Process of How a Smart Smoke Detector Works
Source: (“HOME- Pyramid Fire India”,)
One of the techniques used in smoke alarms to detect smoke is photoelectric detection (Angeline and Abishek Narayanan 111). This type of sensor has a light sensor that emits photoelectric light, which detects light reflection from smoke particles in the air. A little cloud of smoke dispersing in the air does not trigger the sensor since the dispersed particles reflect little to no light. However, when the smoke particles are cloudy and concentrated, they reflect enough light that the photoelectric sensor can pick up and trigger an alerting response, as mentioned before. Further, a smart smoke detector can also be programmed to send alerts depending on the level of smoke it can detect. For example, with a little smoke, the alarm sends a green signal; as the smoke increases, the sensor then sends more signals, and the colour changes from green to yellow to red.
Moreover, smart smoke detectors can also come equipped with cameras, initially intended for security but with more overlooked benefits. One benefit is that upon detecting a fire and sending an alert, the alert receiver can turn on the camera feed on their phone (Rayimkulov et al. 217). This enables them to check whether the fire requires emergency services or not. Further, they can also decide on the best strategy to put out the fire, for example, using a water outlet or manually using carbon dioxide.
In conclusion, smart smoke detectors have evolved from mere fire-detecting tools to automatic mitigating tools in fire incidents. Traditionally, smoke alarms were only used to detect smoke particles and sound an alarm. However, this role has diversified to take up more functions like opening up water outlets or any other fire extinguishers installed in smart homes. With more advancements in automated fire mitigating systems, the lives of firefighters and victims of fire incidents, in addition to property loss, will be reduced and even prevented.
Ahrens, M., “Smoke alarms in US home fires,” National Fire Protection Association, Fire Analysis and Research Division, pp. 1-28, 2019
Angeline, R., S. Adithya, and Abishek Narayanan. “Fire alarm system using IOT.” International Journal of Innovative Technology and Exploring Engineering (IJITEE) 8.6S3 (2019): 110-112.
Lee, In, and Kyoochun Lee. “The Internet of Things (IoT): Applications, investments, and challenges for enterprises.” Business Horizons 58.4 (2015): 431-440.
Oh, Juhwan, Zhongwei Jiang, and Henry Panganiban. “Development of a smart residential fire protection system.” Advances in Mechanical Engineering 5 (2013): 825872.
Rayimkulov, Akhmat, Yasakov Zikrilla Khairullaevich, and Numonov Sherzod. “Intelligent Modeling of Smart House Environment for Fire Prevention and Safety.” European Journal of Life Safety and Stability (2660-9630) (2021): 216-218.
“How Smoke Detectors Work- Ionisation Smoke Detectors-Enggcyclopedia”. Enggcyclopedia, 2022, https://www.enggcyclopedia.com/2011/11/how-smoke-detectors-work-ionisation/.
Yardeni, Yoni et al. “Nest Protect: Smart Smoke Detector”.Hiconsumption, 2022, https://hiconsumption.com/nest-protect-smart-smoke-detector/.
“HOME- Pyramid Fire India, 2022, https://pyramidfireindia.com/.
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This class concentrates on the theory and fundamentals of fire behaviour, hazardous materials, and the mitigation concepts of incidents involving both. Your project will be a written paper on a tool or piece of equipment used in the mitigation of these incidents. Your paper must discuss the physics or chemistry used by your tool, or it must discuss how the tool impacts the chemistry or physics of emergency incidents. Your tool should be very recent, current or emerging technology. Some examples of these tools are A class “D” extinguishing agent, Class “A” foam, A type of nozzle, A hazardous materials protective clothing system, A filter mask for wildland fire incidents, etc. The following rules must be followed:
The report must be at least 500 written words in length.
The report must contain pictures, diagrams, statistics, facts, graphs, charts and the like.
The report must be college-level work and TYPED or computer-generated.
Spelling, grammar and punctuation will be graded, as well as content.
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