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Fire prevention is all about looking to the future. You’re always aiming to lower the number of accidents that occur and the number of lives that are lost. This means developing the tools and procedures that prepare you for the event of a fire so that next time you’re safer – or better yet, you’re able to prevent the fire completely.
What is the future of fire prevention?
Previously we’ve looked back to the past, examining the Great Fire of London of 1666. Now it’s time to think about the future. What tools will fire fighters be using in the world of tomorrow? How will our homes be equipped in years to come? Can fire exits in new buildings be more effective? Well, we may have some of the answers.
We’re not going to imagine wild inventions like flying fire engines, or teleporting water hoses – we’ll look at real devices that are already on the drawing board or in the early stages of development. The twenty-first century has already seen many leaps and bounds in terms of technological advances.
So let’s examine the kind of new fire prevention tools that are focusing on civilian safety, improving workplace security, and, more importantly, the ones just around the corner…
1. ‘Black box’ fire-fighting sensors
In the unfortunate instance of a fire outbreak, experts will rake through accident sites in a bid to find clues and information. This can be a lengthy and costly process. One technological development is hoping to improve this, by collecting and collating such data while the fire is still happening. Sensors placed throughout a building would activate in the event of a fire.
With these on-site devices, real-time information from burning buildings could be inputted into off-site computer models, giving an accurate account of the blaze in question. This would act like a black box of an aeroplane and give instant answers to difficult questions, but its usefulness goes further than this.
By understanding how a fire occurred and spread through a building complex, firefighters would be able to use this knowledge to prevent similar accidents occurring in the future. Such a network of sensors may become common building regulation, helping to relay information.
2. High-pressure mist
Some scientists are extending water’s usefulness. There have been experiments with new high-pressure mist systems to prevent and control fire outbreaks with simple H2O. Imagine barriers of water forming around your emergency exits, blocking radiant heat coming out of the blaze and blocking oxygen coming in and fuelling it.
Such a development would allow for some environments to be rigorously protected from fire. This would be especially useful for things such as computer banks or important electronics that, even though not directly in the route of a fire, would otherwise be ruined by indiscriminate sprinklers.
Walls made of water mist sound like something that would be more at home in a science fiction film, but they could be coming to homes and workplaces sooner than you think.
3. Firefighting drones
Drones are the next big thing. You may already have a friend who owns one and uses it to race other drones or take aerial photographs, but these devices aren’t merely for leisure. Many companies have realised the economical potential behind the flying devices, and drones are taking to the skies to deliver your mail, your internet shopping, and even your takeaways. But some fire experts suspect they’ll have many more humanitarian uses out in the field.
Firefighting teams overseas in Australia have already been developing machines called ‘quadcopters’. These are drones that detect hot-spots in the environment and send real-time data back to the firefighters’ headquarters.
This goes a long way to preventing fire outbreak, especially in a landscape where the first response is vital. It’s very possible that the streets of the future will be patrolled by firefighting drones, recording and relaying both videos and heatwave signatures to make our streets safer.
Modern fire safety technology
There’s a lot of exciting technology out there, and there’s a lot to be optimistic about when it comes to the future of fire prevention. However, these devices aren’t on general release just yet, and they still have a long way to go before they’re fully operational. There’s still a lot you can do in the present day to protect your home or workplace from fire, and the equipment that’s available that has a tremendous success record.
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