Updated: Nov 18, 2019
Fire is man’s oldest and fiercest enemy. Man has been battling fire since centuries.
Fight with fire has always been a perilous task. Earlier, people fought fire using primitive techniques like using buckets of water which were many a time unsuccessful and fire caused a lot of casualties. Apart from inefficient fire fighting, late detection of fire was another major reason for fire to grow up. Both these factors led to rampant destruction by fire.
With scientific advancements there have been major breakthroughs in firefighting and detection capabilities. This has led to early detection of fire and better firefighting capabilities thus saving lives and property.
Here’s a look at the evolution of fire detectors and firefighting equipment:
One of the first early detection systems was a wooden rattle. In 1658, the governor of New Amsterdam appointed fire wardens to patrol the streets armed with wooden rattles to alert citizens in case a fire was detected.
In 1721, a fire engine pump was patented. A Bucket Brigade was assigned to fill buckets with water while a few men worked the pump handles to project the water on to the fire.
The first fire hydrant was patented in almost a century later. Effective as it may have been, it had limitations and could only douse a fire nearby.
The first-ever fire extinguisher was called ‘Extincteur’. This 3-gallon copper cylinder used compressed air to spray pearl-ash solution from a tube to extinguish a fire.
In 1890, the first modern fire alarm, an electric bell was designed.
There has been a considerable progress in the fire detection and fighting techniques that have evolved firefighting and made it a lot safer.
Modern Detection and Fire Fighting Systems:
Detecting a fire is the first step in fighting it. With the invention of automatic fire detection
systems, fighting a fire today is much easier. The state of the art detection
systems available today are such efficient devices that they can catch the temperature difference of a few degrees also. Early detection helps quick action.
There are various detectors that can be installed for early fire detection at homes:
Smoke Detectors: The first smoke detector was invented in the early 1900s. Since then, these revolutionary devices have taken fire detection a step further.
Smoke has long been recognized as a threat, even before the fire breaks out. Containing toxic chemicals, it travels fast and usually spreads before a safe and successful evacuation plan can be devised.
Smoke detectors are a must in homes and high rises. A very first indication of smoke triggers an alarm to alert inhabitants of a fire, giving them more time to get to safety.
Gas Detectors: Gas leaks in home occur from LPG cylinders, piped gas lines and appliances. They can cause fires and health complications as well.
A gas detector is an important detection tool which is used to detect a gas leak or other emissions. On detection of a leak, the gas detector sounds an alarm and identifies the area where the leak has occurred, giving residents the opportunity to vacate the premises quickly.
Detectors for your Workplace.
A fire in the workplace can wipe out lives and leave properties gutted in a matter of minutes. This is why installation of modern automatic fire detection and suppression systems in the workplace is an absolute must. Automatic fire suppression systems can control and extinguish a fire without the need for human intervention. A few popular examples installed today are:
Fire Sprinkler Systems: These overhead water-based detectors turn on automatically at the slightest hint of a fire and initiate the extinguishing process. They function on the principle of selective extinguishing. This means, only those located in the immediate proximity of the fire turn on automatically.
Fire Suppression Systems: These are fully equipped to detect and suppress fires automatically. A network of detection devices, special nozzles, pumps, filters and water tank connectors are installed indoors. In the event of a fire, the system kicks into action immediately and quickly extinguishes the fire.
Alarm Systems: A technology leap in detection systems is an advanced fire alarm systems. These systems are an intelligent conglomerate of detection, activation & alarm devices working in tandem with each other to catch and suppress an early signs of fire.
Thanks to the advanced technologies implemented in early detection systems today, countless lives and livelihoods have been rendered safe and secure.