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Detection System Performance is Integral to Building and Life Safety
An automatic detection system is a primary line of defense to protect life and property against fire and other hazardous conditions. Understanding the performance of detection systems allows users to select the best options for their applications and manufacturers to maximize the effectiveness of their design for specific applications. JENSEN HUGHES’ experienced staff of engineers, scientists, and technicians provide comprehensive field and laboratory evaluations to quantify the performance of fire and gas detection devices. Previous experience includes full-scale evaluations and experimental fire testing of existing and novel fire and gas detection system technologies. JENSEN HUGHES has a vast array of experience testing spot smoke and heat detection, aspiration smoke detection (ASD), beam smoke detection, video image fire detection (VID), optical flame detection (OFD), various spot and linear heat detection technologies, and carbon monoxide, flammable gas and other hazardous gas detection.
JENSEN HUGHES has the capabilities to objectively design, conduct, and evaluate small scale and full-scale evaluations of detection performance. Previous testing conducted for end users, alarm system designers, detector manufacturers, authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ), and standards and listing organizations have included:
- Comparative detection technology performance evaluations
- Optimization of alarm threshold settings and siting requirements
- Quantification and characterization of alarm responses for fire modeling
- Response evaluation for novel detection technologies or alarm algorithm development
- Detection performance in unique environments or applications
- Nuisance alarm rejection evaluation
- Testing for prescriptive code development and modification
JENSEN HUGHES maintains a 12,000 ft2 fire test facility at the corporate headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. This laboratory is used for evaluating the response of detectors to various fire and gas sources. The facility is also capable of testing fire resistance, material flammability, and fire suppression systems.
The facility includes:
- Bench and overhead hoods instrumented for oxygen consumption calorimetry
- Adjustable height ceiling for evaluation of beamed, coffered, cloud, sloped, or flat ceilings
- UL 217 and 268 smoke box for sensitivity testing
- Response Time Index (RTI) test chamber (plunge test apparatus)
- Multiple, highly configurable test enclosures
- Variable subfloor, plenum, room heights, etc.
- Multi-compartment analyses
- Variable air change rates
- Maintain a 1089 ft2 (100m2) by 11.6 ft (3.53 m) high room with subfloor and plenum capable of variable air flow rates up to 45 ACH
- Continuous gas analyzers
- Particle size analyzer (laser diffraction type)
- Smoke measurement equipment
- Gravimetric particle collection
- Optical density meters (laser and white light)
- Measuring ionization chamber (MIC)
- Heat flux, temperature, pressure, flow sensors, etc.
- Data acquisition and control equipment
While we design, instrument, and conduct tests in our laboratory, we also specify, manage, and analyze tests conducted for in-situ detector installations, at external field sites or third-party laboratories.
JENSEN HUGHES has conducted numerous evaluations of fire alarm system and CO detector performance in multi-compartment buildings, commercial facilities, and industrial sites. The effect of design changes in equipment and auxiliary devices, such as detector guards, have been evaluated for clients. JENSEN HUGHES has developed alarm thresholds and guidance for smoke detector response modeling. Detailed studies have also been conducted to validate detector siting requirements and response modeling tools.
Additional examples of projects include:
- Smoke detector performance in sub-freezing temperature environments
- Novel multi-sensor smoke and gas detectors for manufacturers
- Long-term environmental and fire tests for VID, OFD, and ASD technologies in the Lincoln Tunnel
- Laboratory and multi-space tests onboard US Navy ships for VID
- Comparative detection/nuisance performance of OFD/VID systems for oil processing plants
- Full-scale evaluation of OFD for US Navy hangars, including real-scale experiments at the NRC Canada laboratories
- Fire tests for detection and suppression systems on the Eurotunnel heavy goods vehicle (HGV) carrier wagons working in the Channel Tunnel
- Evaluating and testing a fire protection system technology for application in a highway tunnel in France
- Full-scale evaluation of spot and ASD in an active telecom facility
- Experimental validation of FDS modeling for spacing requirements of smoke detectors on beamed ceilings
- Evaluate the performance of the existing US Navy heat sensing device (HSD) systems for magazines/ordnance cargo holds aboard ships
- Fire testing of multiple smoke detection technologies in data communication applications
- A multi-year research program for the US Navy to develop the use of multi-sensor, multi-criteria fire detection. Included full-scale testing in the HUGHES lab as well as on a decommissioned Navy ship. Measurements included CO, CO2, HCN, NO, and hydrocarbons from various fires and ventilation conditions.
- Evaluation of handheld multi-gas detectors (CO, O2, H2S and hydrocarbons) for the US Navy
- Sensitivity, accuracy and response testing of CO sensor technologies as part of a grant from the Department of Commerce
- Feasibility analysis of line-type thermal detection for inaccessible compartments onboard commercial aircraft
- A large-scale study of state-of-the-art fire detection (including smoke, heat, beam, HCl, and HSSD) for very early fire detection in telecom central office facilities
- Full-scale tests to compare heat and smoke detection technologies for new fire protection system designs for ship magazines