The Watchmen Fire & Gas Engineering services consulting team is focused on maximizing the effectiveness of Emergency Protection Systems used to prevent or mitigate the effects of major industrial accidents.
Our team of experts apply their extensive expertise while leveraging advanced analytical software tools in our studies. Our studies result in recommendations intended to maximize effectiveness of:
Many serious industrial accidents have occurred in industry that may have been prevented or mitigated with an effective ESD, Fire & Gas detection and Annunciation system. Early or incipient stage fires or gas releases without detection and mitigative action (such as emergency evacuation and automated process isolation) can escalate into large toxic gas releases or explosions with the potential for serious injuries/fatalities and economic loss. So why have Emergency Protection Systems historically not been more effective in preventing or mitigating releases and/or fires from further escalation? The reason for this is that many of these systems are not properly designed, installed, commissioned, tested or maintained. These failures can be traced back to each phase of the safety lifecycle (design/specification, construction, commissioning, maintenance & operation, decommissioning). This understanding is ultimately what has led to the development of the Technical Report released by ISA (TR84.00.07) which provides a lifecycle management approach to performance based FGS implementation. With the largest percentage of failures identified as occurring in the design/specification phase, great emphasis should be placed on performing these activities well.
Our team of highly trained specialists can inspect and evaluate existing installations against industry and corporate standards, best practices, and manufacturer recommended installation practices. Drawing on our expertise with modelling many other detector applications, we are able to pick out potential impairments and misapplication of technology that could prevent the safe operation of fire and gas detection systems.
Ensuring proper Fire and Gas detector coverage can have the greatest overall effect on maximizing Fire and Gas System effectiveness. Following ISA TR84.00.07 guidelines, our specialists perform a risk assessment to set application specific coverage targets. This approach ensures a "fit for purpose" design by placing detectors where they are needed most. Detector coverage is optimized using a combination of qualitative and semi-quantitative approaches depending on complexity of the application. For higher risk or complexity applications, we leverage 3D software to perform fire and gas detector coverage mapping. We work with existing 3D files when available or develop new 3D files quickly and cost effectively. The high level of accuracy that is possible with modelling enables the analyst to consider:
The effectiveness of Fire and Gas Systems are affected by the reliability of the equipment used and by the voting configuration. A reliability assessment can be performed to ensure the integrity of the system is maintained and is appropriate based on application specific risk. This activity in the ISA TR84.00.07 standard is referred to as a Safety Availability assessment and is very similar to SIL verification calculations. Watchmen can provide these reliability calculations as part of the FGS Effectiveness analysis particularly with reliability concerns from voting of fire and gas detection alarm actions.
Annunciation equipment is a key component in evaluating the mitigative effectiveness of any fire and gas detection system. The purpose of this equipment is to communicate the existence of an emergency situation to personnel that may be effected within the area. Consequences can escalate quickly during an emergency if this safety critical equipment is not properly designed, installed, tested and maintained. Our specialists can help with the initial placement and evaluation of existing installations to ensure proper coverage is in place. We perform site surveys to map audible annunciation levels and compare to background sound levels to ensure proper audibility of annunciation equipment. Our specialists can recommend audible and visual annunciation modifications in order to ensure emergencies can be communicated to those potentially affected by the hazard.
For effective design, installation, maintenance and testing of Emergency Protection Systems it is key to have in place a good quality design philosophy or standard. Our specialists can help develop new philosophies or corporate standards for new applications or to document and update standards and philosophies to cover existing facilities. Our templates are available to make this a painless and effective process.
Contact us for support on developing your design philosophy, corporate standards or to conduct a gap analysis on your facility against these documents.
In order for an Emergency Protection System to be effective, the system must be capable of detecting an undesirable event (fire or gas alarm) and take an appropriate action including emergency notification in an effective and timely manner. This requires that the emergency system logic be properly designed, configured and tested.
Watchmen can support the development or update to Emergency Protection Systems engineering documents detailing automated actions to be taken when fire and gas alarms are activated. This can include annunciation, building ventilation control, fire suppression and process actions like isolation / depressurization.
Watchmen Instrumented Safety Experts (WISE) is a Functional Safety Engineering company with specialized expertise in preventative and mitigative instrumented safety. Our expertise includes HAZOP & LOPA Facilitation, SIL / SIS Calculations and Consulting, Alarm Management, Fire and Gas Systems Engineering. Consult one of our experts for your instrumented safety project today.
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