NetTalon, Inc. of Fredericksburg, VA, has introduced a networkable fire protection system that was recently demonstrated at the Louisiana State University, Fire and Emergency Training Institute, Baton Rouge, LA. The system reports alarm conditions to all authorized monitoring stations within two seconds of a sensor or smoke detectors going into alarm. Sensor and detector conditions depicting the nature of the evolving emergency are reported instantly on a graphic representation of a building's floor plan. Icons that represent the sensors and smoke detectors are overlaid on the floor plan and change color to indicate alarm conditions.
The NetTalon system network includes fire departments, where in an emergency, fire personnel can remotely view and understand the fire emergency before the first engine leaves the firehouse. The burn exercises at LSU demonstrated this revolutionary approach to fire protection and firefighting, which vastly improves the safety of occupants, the protection of property and increases firefighter safety.
Multiple system benefits
A networked fire alarm system connects the facility to be protected to its local fire department in an emergency response network. In a fire emergency, responding commanders can use NetTalon to view the fire's behavior remotely and in real-time. This will allow them to make decisions about equipment and personnel needed at the fireground and formulate plans for victim rescue and fire knockdown before arriving. Additionally, the speed of reporting can virtually put fire units on the scene much earlier in the fire timeline and thus provide opportunity for validation of the fire before the engines arrive.
In most cases today, fire departments must respond to a fire with little or no idea of how severe the fire is, how much of the building is involved, or the location of trapped victims. It is only after arriving at the scene that fireground commanders can obtain data from the building's fire-alarm panel, allowing them to direct firefighters to the area of involvement and conduct a primary search for live victims.
Under present conditions, this intense effort to gather intelligence must take place in the hostile conditions of the actual fire scene before firefighting operations can start.
Real-time testing sets the stage
In a preliminary test series at LSU, the St. George fire department responded to six test fires in the conventional manner. NetTalon, LSU fire protection personnel and senior commanders from the St. George Fire Company monitored the fire scene remotely using NetTalon technology.
From the time each fire was started, LSU control personnel allowed two minutes to pass to simulate the time it takes to process an alarm signal. Meanwhile, NetTalon monitoring stations were remotely viewing smoke activity at multiple points in the building within a few seconds of the fire starting. Within the next 30 seconds, monitoring personnel could view actual fire activity and victim location. All data was received a full 90 seconds before the staged fire company received the dispatch.
After dispatch it was another 4-1/2 minutes before the real-time firefighters located the test fire and victims. Control personnel watching via NetTalon knew the fire's intensity, location, involvement of the building, spread of smoke, victim location and danger long before the fire responders even arrived. This speed of notification and remote real-time intelligence clearly demonstrated to the LSU staff and participating fire department the huge advantage the NetTalon system can give in fire control, victim rescue, personnel safety, and speed and efficiency of the firefighting operation.