The name VESDA stands for “Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus” and is classified as an Aspirating Smoke Detector (ASD). That means that this device offers the earliest possible warning of an impending fire hazard by continuously sampling the air in the environment via aspiration and analyzing it, looking for smoke particles and also hazardous/combustible gases in some modules.
Although there are some technical differences between each model available, which is to be expected, their basic functionality is usually based on a flare detection chamber, combining laser-based light scattering technology with optical imaging to deliver higher sensitivity, better dust rejection, and improved stability and longevity.
Each model has its unique advantage or application. Still, they all normally aspirate air, some through a long line of pipes from different areas of the building. They can be easily connected to fire alarm control panels, suppression systems, and intelligent building management systems.
Early detection plays a crucial role when combating fires, especially when it comes to the downtime of critical operations. Some costly equipment cannot afford the time needed for a regular detection system to do its job before they go to waste. In contrast, ASD systems can quickly identify any amount of smoke way before it can be noticed by others, delivering a minimal response time. When combined with a top-of-the-line suppression system, it can considerably drop the downtime of operations.
Being also very resistant to dust and having an active dust rejection system, the false alarms also have a minor incidence, which can be very important, especially for those Mission Critical Systems with electronics or data centers that have prohibitive downtime costs per minute.
Another interesting point is that ASDs, in special VESDA E Series, can detect a minor fire even before it is visible and can even detect an anomaly in the air before any human working in the area. The stage where it operates is called the Incipient Stage and is the first fire stage.
Conventional detectors typically detect a fire in its second stage at best, when the smoke is already visible. Sprinklers, for example, usually activate in the fourth stage, when there is already intense heat in the area. This portrays how important it is to use an appropriate fire detection system that meets your needs, especially when considering a Fire Suppression System that works together with the detection.
The earlier a detection is, the faster the response to a fire will also be. When this response is linked to the activation of a fire suppression system, especially for critical processes, it means a faster activation and consequently a shorter downtime. Take a Hybrid Fire Suppression System for instance; they are known for having the shortest downtime in the market, and combining a very early detection with a suppression system that offers you the fastest margin possible to get back to work, can exponentially shorten the time your processes need to be shut down after a fire event or even a false alarm.
So, to conclude, not every environment will need a high-tech detection or suppression system. It will most certainly not be enforced by NFPA standards as the essential fire protection for a building or structure, but for special needs such as data centers, powerplants, nuclear facilities, and such, being able to be back to work as soon as the fire is detected and suppressed could certainly save millions depending on the size of the operation, not only because of shorter downtime but also the maximized asset protection.
JEM Systems is a licensed Xtralis® VESDA supplier, so if you still have any doubts about whether this system is suitable for you or have any questions about functioning and operation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. One of our well-qualified specialists will be at your disposal to take care of your every need.