How AI Is Helping Address Daily Threat of Industrial Fires
In recent years, there has been major technological progress in the safety and security of large, complex premises. For too long, life-safety systems integrators have faced the challenges of gaps in coverage and how to bridge them.
This applies to all aspects of on-site safety, but in an array of industrial and commercial environments, none pose a greater risk of harming onsite personnel, damaging property and disrupting business continuity than fires and combustion.
Frequent reports of devastating fires worldwide continue to demonstrate that standard detection, monitoring and alarm equipment is not effective or fast enough to deal with the rapid onset and spread of fires in hazardous settings, like factories or waste processing plants.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and Industry 4.0 — the fourth revolution that has occurred in manufacturing — in combination with video-based surveillance, has brought fire-safety provision to a whole new era.
Before data analysts and technical developers could design and implement such cutting-edge solutions, they first assessed all issues and challenges that needed to be addressed and overcome.
A global exchange of professional knowledge and experience in the fire-safety industry outlined the pain points and hazards identified over past years.
For instance, classic smoke detectors fixed onto ceilings require smoke or vapor to reach the sensors in their immediate detection field before any alarm is sounded. A delayed response means precious time is lost while a fire takes hold and spreads across an area before the alarm is triggered.
Regular surveillance cameras often produce grainy imagery if they pick up movement in low-light conditions or overnight. Outdoors it is even worse. Raindrops and frost can blur or obscure a lens and prevent it from capturing any distinguishable footage.
Intruders leave a site unidentified, and even continual live surveillance projected over screens will unlikely alert security personnel of any heat buildup or imminent fires. So, whereas many industrial safety managers and systems integrators may have planned and equipped a facility for decent fire-safety coverage, the efficacy of these measures are severely lacking in the level of security they should provide.
Standard equipment can also be hypersensitive to any sign of fire and signal frequent false alarms that disrupt business continuity with site shutdowns. This can even create a dangerous “cry wolf ” effect, so real threats of fire are not taken seriously.
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