HMP Stocken - the first English prison to incorporate new MOJ fire suppression standards

Fireworks Fire Protection Ltd deploys custom-designed watermist fire systems in just two months HMP Stocken is a Category C prison for adult males that was first opened in 1985, as a closed training prison for young offenders. Following several expansions, with new accommodation, facilities and workshops, it has achieved recognition for the quality and safety of its environment.

This year, HMP Stocken became the first prison facility in England to incorporate the latest Ministry of Justice fire safety standard, NOMS Spec 054, into its fire precaution systems. The prison’s newest wing was completed in June 2019 and will add a further 206 beds to its capacity. It is for this latest block that UK-based Fireworks Fire Protection Ltd has intervened to custom-design and install a state-of-the-art fire suppression system, leveraging the latest innovations in high pressure watermist fire protection. Fireworks specialises in high and low pressure watermist fire suppression systems and is the leading fire suppression company for the Custodial Sector in the UK. The company has been entrusted by the Ministry of Justice for over a decade and now protects over 150 prisons, custodial suites and immigration centres.

High pressure watermist fire suppression for the custodial sector

Fireworks designed the first high pressure watermist fire suppression systems for the Ministry of Justice back in 2007 and the concept has since been universally adopted throughout the UK. The solution comprises high-pressure water pumps which feed patented water nozzles, via a network of stainless steel pipes.

In the event of fire, the nozzles are triggered at the affected areas to emit ultra-fine watermist under high pressure. High pressure watermist fire suppression is triply effective, as besides extinguishing fire and smoke, it prevents re-ignition. The water droplets in the watermist are less than 100 microns each. Under heat, they quickly atomise to cool and extinguish fire and smoke. In most cases the risk to life and property caused by smoke is often greater than the damage caused by the fire itself. With watermist, because the water particles are very fine, smoke particles attach themselves to the water droplets and fall to the floor. Once the fire has been extinguished, the watermist continues to reduce the heat temperature, preventing re-ignition. Throughout the custodial sector, watermist solutions have been proven under controlled tests and in real life situations, to suppress fires much more rapidly and effectively than conventional fire suppression systems. An additional benefit is the extremely low levels of water used, which substantially reduces water damage and the turnaround time of affected cells.

A custom-designed, three system, watermist solution

The fire suppression system at HMP Stocken’s new wing included the custom design, installation, testing and commissioning of a high-pressure watermist system to protect the cells and areas of special fire hazard. The system designed by Fireworks incorporates three parallel watermist solutions - for in-cell protection, areas identified as ‘special hazard’ and manually operated hose reel cabinets. At the heart of the solution is a central 200 litre pump unit, backed up by a second redundancy pump, which powers a network of over 900 metres of stainless steel pipework, watermist hose reel cabinets and 160 watermist nozzles.

In-cell protection

Side-wall mounted nozzles are located in each cell of the new block. These open, anti-ligature nozzles have been tested and approved by the BRE and Ministry of Justice. The nozzles are activated by a fire detection system and local automatic valves, so manual intervention is not necessary. In the event of a fire within a protected cell, smoke is detected by the dedicated detection system. A start signal is then sent to open the relevant solenoid valve. Through the subsequent pressure loss, the pump detects water flow and begins to propel water through the distribution pipework. Watermist is then discharged into the affected area only. Custodial staff have the possibility to bypass the solenoid control valve for each cell manually and thus allow water to start, or stop, flowing to the nozzle, regardless of whether a signal has been raised by the fire alarm system. Protecting special fire hazard areas

For areas nominated as areas of special fire hazard, such as laundry areas, Fireworks installed closed nozzles that are activated via glass bulbs that rupture during heat above a pre-determined temperature. This causes a flow of water which is then detected by the control panel, which then triggers the high pressure pump unit into operation. Watermist is then emitted at all of the affected areas, identified through nozzles with ruptured bulbs.

Hose reel cabinets with watermist nozzles for manual firefighting

The third aspect of the system is a series of watermist hose reel cabinets, for manual firefighting. Each of the high security, lockable steel cabinets includes a 35 metre hose reel assembly, with a handheld lance fitted with a watermist nozzle. Located on wall surfaces, or flush installed into the wall, each cabinet is connected to the central high pressure pump unit. To activate the system, a custodial staff member opens the flow control valve located inside the cabinet. Watermist is activated by squeezing the trigger located on the lance.

Installation, testing and maintenance

Fireworks custom designed HMP Stocken’s fire suppression system over a period of nearly two years. Once the design was approved, installation and testing were completed in less than two months. Each of the 160 nozzle locations was tested to a limit of 150% of the system’s operating pressure, for a total of 10 minutes and then at normal operating pressure for a further 110 minutes

The system includes a full control and monitoring solution. In case of a fault, such as total power failure, a signal is sent to the building management system and fire alarm. A control panel displays the fault condition and can be used for diagnostic purposes. An optional state of the art communication module allows fast status reporting of 20 operating conditions enabling appropriate decisions to be made from anywhere in the world. Regular maintenance is carried out by fully trained and approved Fireworks staff at regular intervals.

“Fireworks Fire Protection Ltd is a long standing supplier of fire suppression solutions for the Ministry of Justice, with bespoke products for the custodial sector, from nozzles and valves, to pump units and hose reels” said Derek Killaspy, Managing Director. “We are continuing to innovate and for HMP Stocken, we have designed and implemented the first ever system to incorporate the new NOMS spec 054 specification for a custodial centre in England.”

 

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For more information contact us on 01953 469237 or email enquiries@fireworks-ltd.com

 

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