Tunnels present some of the greatest challenges for fire safety across the globe.
The economic consequences of tunnel fires is no better illustrated than the 1999 Mont Blanc Tunnel fire, which cost 380 million Euros to repair (without being corrected upwards for inflation). The fire, which took 39 lives, led to €13.5 million (US $17.5 million) in compensation paid by the Italian tunnel operator and a custodial sentence for its head of tunnel security.
The fire disrupted trade and had an affect on national economies for years whilst it was repaired and improved for road transport.
The result of the Mont Blanc and other major fires has made many tunnel operators aware of the dangers and consequences. They now demand the best fire detection and prevention technology available.
FireVu has been used on a number of highly prestigious tunnels across the globe, including Sydney Harbour Tunnel, Palm Island Tunnel and YAS Island Tunnel.
Let’s have a brief look at each in turn.
Sydney Harbour Tunnel
Sydney Harbour Tunnel cost AUS $554 million to build in 1992. It is 2.8 km long. It carried about 90,000 vehicles according to the 2008 figures, easing congestion from the Sydney Harbour Bridge traffic.
Tests conducted using a vehicle produced temperatures in excess of 500 degrees. Live images of the fire were screened through the VSD system and the first alarm was generated in 14 seconds. A further 30 alarms were triggered by the FireVu solution, while the older automated systems did not generate a single alarm.
Sydney Harbour Tunnel, on the strength of the tests, replaced the older system in 2006. FireVu images are now feed through over 80 cameras. Sydney Harbour Tunnel continues to use FireVu successfully today.
Palm Jumeirah Island Tunnel, Dubai
Palm Island is an iconic landmark and a highly prestigious place to own property.
Its 1.4km long tunnel, linking the mainland to Palm Jumeirah Island, is monitored by FireVu. It carries traffic along two tubes of three lanes of traffic and has pedestrian walkways. There is an inner tube used as a service tunnel. Each tunnel uses 14 detection points for VSD.
The Palm Jumeirah solution uses NetVu ObserVer video management software to offer a fast response. The multiple cameras offer additional situational awareness. Pre and post event analysis are offered.
As it includes a Network Video Server, there is the flexibility for the distribution of alarms and video to an unlimited number of locations.
As FireVu shares NetVu Connected technology, it can easily be integrated with other AD Group solutions such as security systems.
Yas Island Tunnel, Abu Dhabi
The 2010 Yas Island Tunnel is not only a major vehicle route linking the Yas Marina Circuit where the F1 race is held each year around November and the Abu Dhabi highway, it also helps residents and visitors get to the Yas Island hotels, major events such as Ferrari World and Abu Dhabi International Airport.
It is also an essential link for the $36 billion Yas Island Development.
The development installed FireVu in its two, one km long road tunnels. The two parallel tunnels are monitored by 32 cameras connected to 4 x FireVu 8 VSD units.
Malcolm Gatenby, managing director at BSS-ME, FireVu partner in the Middle East who also worked on the Palm Jumeirah project comments: “Working with construction company Taisei Corporation and fire alarm provider Zener to produce a high performance Video Smoke Detection system shows that we can work in close co-operation with contractors to produce an effective solution. We came in on time and budget ready for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and that has been very satisfying.
Yas Island is just one example of a FireVu solution helping protect high value assets and life that uses the VSD solution in the region.”
FireVu has recently supplied an article on the dangers, challenges (including legislation) and solutions for tunnel fires in IFP Magazine.