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Miners urged to improve fire-detection systems

ASP Fire has emphasized the importance of fire-detection systems in underground mining citing that underground mining is an exceptionally hazardous environment,

The professional and accredited fire risk management believes persons who work underground have limited means to escape in the event of any fire and calls for earliest possible warning of a fire, or an impending fire, allows them the maximum time possible to respond to the fire and extinguish it.

Michael van Niekerk , ASP Fire Chief Executive Officer says on time warnings also allows employees to escape from the hazardous area if the fire is too large for them to tackle

He added that heavy machinery that operates on the surface is also a high-risk environment, as the operators are often in cabs high above the ground, with only a single means of escape in the event of any emergency.

“Being able to save a multi-million rand machine from damage or total loss due to fire has obvious cost benefits for a mine,” van Niekerk points out.

Van Nierkerk said detecting a fire while it is in the incipient or smouldering phase similarly gives the machine operator the opportunity to extinguish the fire before it develops, or to evacuate the machine if the fire escalates.

He said fire requires three components to propagate-fuel, oxygen, and heat or an ignition source.

ASP Fire says switching off the electrical supply to affected equipment while the fire is smouldering can prevent it from developing into a full-blown, potentially disastrous fire.

“Therefore the mining industry is passionate about health and safety, and fire prevention in particular,” van Niekerk said.

Meanwhile ASP Fire is able to conduct fire-risk evaluations for mining operations, encompassing a full Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) of potential fires.

Typical applications for fire-protection systems in mines are: bulk-material conveyors and the high-risk areas of conveyor systems; bulk storage facilities for combustible product; critical electrical substations that feed life-support systems in a mine, electrical transformers, heavy, mobile mining equipment, server rooms, winder-house protection,  safes and document archives, and office blocks, workshops, and stores.

ASP Fire provides a holistic, proactive and preventative fire solution based on integrated fire risk assessment, training and consulting, with the installation and maintenance of fire detection and suppression systems that meet SABS, NFPA, FPASA, FDIA and SAQCC standards.

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