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Nittan smoke detectors stop false alarms from e-cigarette vaping

Nittan’s Evolution EV-DP Dual Wavelength Photoelectric smoke detectors have been installed in a Southampton pub and live music venue to prevent false alarms caused by vaping.

With the rise of the e-cigarette, which can be smoked in public places such as bars and restaurants, a new, unexpected problem has arisen: false alarms from vaping. The issue of steam causing smoke alarms to false alarm is well documented. Generally speaking, the Infra Red scattered light technology currently used for commercial smoke detectors is unable to distinguish between larger size particles like steam or dust, that are major causes of false alarms, and particles generated by combustion (fire).

E- cigarettes feature a cartridge containing nicotine in a solution of either propylene glycol or glycerine and water. When you suck on the device, a sensor detects the air flow and starts a process to heat the liquid inside the cartridge, so it evaporates to form water vapour. In an enclosed venue where there are a number of people vaping, this can have the same effect as steam on a smoke detector, leading to false alarms.

The legendary Frog & Frigate in Southampton is renowned for being a very lively venue where visitors are encouraged to get on the tables and sing along with the band! Vaping is permitted in this busy venue which has led to false alarm issues. Venue owner Derek Gardener explains the problem: “we have relaxed, fun vibe here and are happy for people to use e-cigarettes inside. However, it has led to the alarms activating, especially when people are vaping right underneath them. We can’t stop people from vaping underneath them and equally we didn’t want to ban vaping.”

Derek turned to Fire and Safety Testing for a solution, which recommended the use of Nittan’s Evolution EV-DP smoke detectors. Owner Derek Fay explains: “Many venues such as this resort to using heat alarms instead of smoke alarms, but the local fire officer would not allow this. He suggested a Multi-Sensor, but the same issue remains as it still looks for smoke and will false alarm. I had read about Nittan’s dual optical detectors resistance to steam in a magazine article and thought they might offer a solution here as the problem was very similar. Vaping is relatively new and neither myself nor Nittan had come across this issue before. I discussed it with the client and he was happy to see if it would work. We swapped the existing alarm devices out of the conventional system with the Nittan ones and there hasn’t been a single false alarm since; that was about six months ago. Its worked beautifully.”

Nittan Evolution EV-DP smoke detectors have been designed to reduce false alarms caused by non-combustion products such as steam, dust and aerosols. Unlike other industry standard (single optical sensor) smoke detectors on the market that claim to distinguish between smoke and non-combustion products, the EV-DP effectively measures the actual particle size in the chamber via its combined IR and blue LED technology. As steam and dust are much larger particles than smoke, the detector won’t false alarm.

With an estimated 2.8 million adults in Great Britain (6% of the adult population) currently using e cigarettes (up from only 700,000 in 2012) and the NHS backing them as an effective quitting aid, their use is likely to continue to increase. With this increase, false alarms caused from vaping is likely to become an issue for entertainment venues. Nittan Evolution EV-DP smoke detectors provide a cost-effective, simple solution.

The Nittan Group has been at the forefront of the international fire protection industry since 1954 and has sales, R&D and manufacturing bases in four countries, including the UK. The company continuously innovates and strives for exceptional quality products that meet the highest of standards.

To learn more about Nittan’s products go to www.nittan.co.uk

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