Xtralis™ is protecting the Natural History Museum in South Kensington with its Vesda® LaserPlus (VLP) aspirating smoke detection (ASD) system. The Waterhouse Building is a London landmark and an example of Romanesque architecture. It is home to one of the largest natural history collections in the world, with more than 70 million specimens ranging from microscopic slides to massive skeletons.
As part of an upgrade to the museum’s existing fire system, the Vesda VLP was selected to protect the large roof void on the building’s second floor. Xtralis' Vesda solution was specified for its advantages over conventional point or beam detection systems in protecting large, open spaces. Unlike conventional detectors, Xtralis ASD solutions can be unobtrusively deployed to preserve aesthetic features, and maintenance and service can be executed from a central detector point, further minimizing disruption.
Open areas or voids feature stratified, thermal layers that can prevent cooled smoke from reaching ceiling level. As such, conventional systems will normally only respond when a fully-fledged fire condition is reached, by which time significant damage has already occurred. Vesda ASD systems, however, provide continuous air sampling to detect even the smallest particles of smoke at the earliest stage of a fire. This very early warning buys time to investigate an alarm and stage an appropriate response to prevent injury, property damage, or business disruption. From a technical perspective, the Vesda VLP has an alarm sensitivity range of 0.005%–20% obscuration/m (0.0015%–6.25% obscuration/ft).
“As one of the UK’s most popular museums, the Natural History Museum has a responsibility to ensure the safety of visitors and staff,” said Kevin Rellis, head of estates projects. “Protecting against the risk of fire is key, and with Vesda we have ensured that we have the best possible coverage to safeguard the museum for generations to come.”
“Xtralis has deep experience in helping museums and other cultural and historic landmarks protect valuable artifacts from the earliest threat of fire or security breach,” said Samir Samhouri, president and CEO of Xtralis. “As the provider of choice for various high-profile museums, Xtralis is committed to the protection of environments with a zero tolerance for fire by providing the most reliable, advanced detection systems on the market today.”