Science Museum Media Space Wireless Fire Alarm

In 2012 the Science Museum in Kensington, London undertook a major refurbishment of their Media Space on the second floor. Part of this major project was to upgrade and rewire the existing Siemens Fire alarm to match the new layout and install a temporary wireless system to cover the construction area while the works were going on.

The remaining areas of the Museum would still be open to the public during the works, and therefore the wireless fire alarm would have to be in place before the major works could start.

Fire Systems Ltd, won the contract to supply and install the temporary wireless system and to rewire and upgrade the existing Siemens system.

The wireless system we choose to install was the Hyfire range of equipment, which involved a mixture of smoke and heat detectors depending on how much dust would be present during the works, plus manual call points at the exits and audible alarms. Some of the wireless manual call points were installed on the construction extinguisher fire points, that could be moved around the site and still operate if required.

The open space was 525 square metres, with the completed area being able to be sub-divided into three sections. The work was carried out in three phases, so using a wireless system provided us with the flexibility to alter the layout of the fire alarm equipment in line with how the work was proceeding. We were also able to remove parts of the system if they were in the way of the construction works and return the devices to their original location by the end of the day.

During the strip out works, we had no concerns about damaged cables to the temporary system, only to the existing wired system.

The main house alarm was linked to the wireless system and given a separate zone. The fire officer inspected the system and was satisfied with the operation and gave the go-ahead for the building works to proceed. The time taken to carry the wireless installation was two days.

The wired system took about three months to install and cost a lot more, however, as you can see from the video, even though the wireless system was fitted for temporary cover during the works, it looks better than the wired system. Furthermore, buildings such as the museums, and Exhibition spaces, are always changing the layout to accommodate new displays and presentations, and therefore a wireless fire alarm system would have been the better option all round.

You will also observe from the video because of the unobtrusive nature of the wireless system; it was still in place when the Media Centre re-opened.

Wireless fire alarm Protecting the Arts

When it comes to protecting the Arts, such as Museums, Theatres, Art Galleries, Studios and open spaces that evolve during a short period, Wireless fire alarms have a big advantage over wired systems due to the speed and flexibility of the installation and any future alterations.

As you will observe in the video, the wireless fire alarm is much more aesthetically pleasing to look at than the wired system. The wiring for the wired system had to be hidden where possible behind the wall panels and under the floor, and when exposed on the ceiling was installed in galvanised conduit, so it was very prominent on the ceiling layout.

Furthermore, it took three months to install the wired system and the main reason for the lengthy installation was when the designers changed the layout, the wiring behind the panels was hard to be retrieved, and the galvanised conduit had to be reinstalled to the new positions.

However, with a wireless system the detector is removed and relocated to the new location at a fraction of the time and cost, plus the wireless system is non-intrusive, and it is for this reason that the wireless systems are the better option for projects involving the arts. This is why the arts and many corporate establishments are now using wireless fire alarms.