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EMS helps overcome complex challenge at historic site

8 Nov 11 The City of Bath boasts a rich heritage; a Grand Pump Room from the Georgian period sits atop the ancient Roman edifice of Aquae Sulis.

For a site that sees more than a million visitors each year, in addition to those who work and volunteer there, it is vital to provide the best level of fire detection and prevention. Avon Fire Systems turned to EMS Radio Fire & Security to develop a complex wire free fire protection system to replace the old hard-wired system in the most effective way possible.

Avon Fire Systems faced an unusual challenge, the old hard wired system in place at the Bath Roman Baths and Pump Rooms was becoming unreliable and troublesome. Yet local authority stipulations meant that a new fire detection and protection system needed to replicate the pattern of the older installation, so that no additional drilling into old and in some cases ancient building fabric was required. The installation of a new hard-wired system within this framework would require the site to be closed, with large periods of downtime and disruption.

Coupled with the architectural and archaeological sensitivity of the site, the presence of wet limestone and concrete walls provided an unusual context to Avon Fire System’s Director Gary Cox and his team, leading to the conclusion that a wire-free, radio system was the right solution:

“Installing a new hard wired system was not an option,” Gary explains, “EMS is the only radio systems provider we work with, as we find their solutions to be very reliable. We worked with EMS to demonstrate the integrity of its wire-free FireCell approach to the local authority. A sweep of the building proved that all the different materials within the building fabric would not impede the effective communication of the radio hubs.”

325 devices were installed in some 100 rooms across all the public areas and back office areas of the site, with 25 clusters and around 300 sensors.

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“Once the tender process was complete we had to think carefully about scheduling the installation of the new system. The site remained open to visitors throughout the entire process,” explains Gary, “This meant we needed to work logistically to a very strict schedule. The flexibility of the EMS system enabled us to be efficient and keep to these important timescales.”

FireCell from EMS Radio Fire & Security is the UK’s first fully certified EN54 part 25 compliant wireless fire detection system. It links to over 500 tried and trusted industry standard sensor units via EMS’s own Smart Cluster Technology, creating up to 64 radio clusters to provide totally wireless communication and full building protection for any application.

Particularly relevant in heritage contexts where the architectural integrity of an older building cannot be compromised by modern cable runs, a wire-free solution presents the ideal solution.

“Because there is no cabling required, the time and cost of installing a new fire protection system is dramatically reduced,” explains Ray Puttock from EMS, “Equally, the headache associated with the unlimited access required for cable installation is also removed; itself a benefit for applications where timing and logistics all play a role during installation.”

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