Portable fire extinguishers have been around since the 1800s. They have stood the test of time thanks to their unparallel usefulness in fighting fires in a timely and effective manner. Nowadays we find different types of fire extinguishers because no single extinguisher can, or should be used, to fight any fire.
There are at least 6 different types of fire extinguishers, and one should choose which to use depending on the materials present in the area. Some extinguishers are designed to fight carbon-based solids like wood or paper, others are meant to put out flammable gases’ fires. There are also fire extinguishers that are specifically designed to fight fires caused by electrical faults and others that are to be used solely to put out fires where fats or oils are involved.
Despite the many types of fire extinguishers, all have one thing in common – the need for regular maintenance and upkeep. In fact, regardless of which type of fire extinguisher is required, it is only useful and effective if all of its components and contents are in good condition.
The hot IoT challenge
Traditionally, fire extinguishers and their components are routinely and physically checked and recorded. Monitoring typically occurs once a month requiring fire companies or individual owners to physically visit all fire extinguisher sites to manually check their different components and contents.
To start with, this involves physically locating each and every fire extinguisher which sometimes proves difficult because fire extinguishers are portable and can be easily moved from their designated place. Once a fire extinguisher is located, the checklist is long and tedious. It includes testing the extinguisher’s gauge pressure, its expiry date, the presence or lack of a locking pin, the room temperature in which it is being kept, and other parameters that can affect its proper functioning should the need arise. This process is very time consuming, very heavy on human resources and leaves a lot of room for human error. The challenge was, therefore, that of finding an automated and remote way of monitoring all these variables from one central portal, eliminating the need for regular physical visits and checks.
Fire extinguisher IoT management solution from melita.io
In order to digitise this process and make it more accurate and efficient fire extinguishers are being integrated with a very small electronic device which include smart sensors thus enabling the remote and real-time monitoring of fire extinguishers wherever their physical location is. Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) and Melita’s LoRaWAN and mobile gateways, the sensors attached to the extinguishers transmit real-time data from the fire extinguishers to a specialised IoT platform. This gives fire security companies continuous and live visibility of the status of all their extinguishers allowing them to manage their physical visits according to need. With this IoT solution, fire extinguishers can always be located even if they are moved from their designated location, and perhaps most importantly, the solution makes it possible for fire extinguishers to always be kept at an optimised state, thus ensuring full functionality should the need arise.
This IoT solution not only saves companies and individuals time and money, but by requiring fewer physical visits to different sites, it helps reduce overall CO2 emissions and help reach the much needed Green targets.
To learn more about how melita.io can help your business take advantage of the power of the Internet of Things, contact us.