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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Short report on the FireGrid Workshop "Integrated Fire Protection" at Watford, UK

by Dr Stephen Welch, BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering, The University of Edinburgh, UK.

BRE Global hosted the FireGrid Workshop "Integrated Fire Protection" on 24 March 2009 at Watford, UK. 10 speakers from academia, industry and the fire service gave presentations on the the proof of concept of this new technology.

FireGrid is an innovative project exploring the use sensor-linked grid-enabled fire simulations to assist emergency responders. Successful completion of the most recent phase of the work, via the project "An integrated Emergency Response System for the Built Environment" funded by the Technology Strategy Board (2006-2009), was marked by a recent a dissemination workshop reporting the progress and outcomes.

The day commenced with an opening reflection on the fact that as airline pilots are utterly dependent on navigation aids, a day may come when fire emergency responders must also learn to "trust their instruments". Subsequent talks covered in detail the vision of FireGrid, the context of pervasive sensors and evolution of "intelligent" buildings, sensor technologies including early detection, and the sensor-linked grid-enabled fire simulations which can provide predictions of future hazards, together with interpretation of the model results to provide information meaningful to an end user. A series of live experiments have demonstrated the individual technology integrations required to fulfil the vision. These culminated in the final project demonstrator, a full-scale fire test at BRE Burn Hall in October 2008, where a prototype FireGrid system was effectively deployed to provide information on fire conditions and possible hazard evolution to "end users", and an assembled audience, via display panels.

With fulfilment of all intended objectives, various avenues are now being pursued to further develop the FireGrid concept.

The slides of the workshop can be found here:

* The FireGrid Project, by Prof Jose Torero, University of Edinburgh.

* FireGrid and the Built Environment, by Dr Debbie Smith, BRE Global

* Sensor Technology, by Peter Mundy, Xtralis.

* System Integration and Future Development, by John Holden, BRE Global

* Data Collection and Communication, by Dr Stephen Potter, University of Edinburgh.

* Computer Modelling, by Dr Suresh Kumar and Dr Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell, BRE Global, and Dr Stephen Welch, University of Edinburgh.

* Case Study - The Final Demonstrator, by Dr George Beckett University of Edinburgh and Paul Jenkins, London Fire Brigade

Stephen Welch

NOTE: The FireGrid Newsletters can be accessed here, No. 1 March 2007 and No. 2 March 2008.

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