New fire 'connector' system considered for the Rows

11 January 2022

Cheshire West and Chester Council are considering replacing the current fire alarm system in Council owned buildings on Chester’s historic Rows, plus installing new fire detection cameras that will trigger an alarm when smoke / flame patterns are detected.  

A small number of these specially designed cameras will contribute to the early detection of external fires in high-risk areas of the city including Leen Lane, Feathers Lane and Bridge Street West. There is also consideration being given to reinstate the Linear Heat loop which extends around the walkway of Chester Rows and activates an alarm when heat from a fire is detected. The linear heat cable is not susceptible to false alarms like normal detectors.

The Council only owns a very small number of the approximately 600 properties on the Rows and to make this heritage gem safer they are asking for the help of businesses and residents on the Rows.

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “We are considering the installation of a ‘connector’ system that can be attached to existing fire protection. When a single fire alarm is triggered the ‘connector’ system sends a signal to a receiving centre.  If two connectors are triggered next to each other this triggers a call to be made to the fire service."

“An added advantage of a ‘connector’ system is to provide extra intelligence for the Fire Service on where a fire has started and being able to map how it is spreading.”

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service has agreed to document existing fire alarm systems. This will allow the Council to calculate how many connectors are required and what amount of coverage could be provided.  Information collected during this ‘investigation stage’ will form a crucial part of a register of information that will contribute towards effective management of the Rows.  

An officer from Chester Fire and Rescue Service will be visiting all properties to assess the suitability of installing the new system. 
Added Councillor Gittins:

“Please help us all to protect the Rows by letting the officer inspect your current fire protection.  There is no charge for the assessment and by having a clear picture of what’s in place we can design a system that is fit for purpose. The survey should take no longer than 30 minutes.  There will just be a few simple questions and showing the officer where your fire alarm is situated.”

By connecting all of the fire alarms in all units in the same way a precinct or mall may operate will allow the fire service to respond to the exact location quickly and more safely.  In effect this means the fire can be dealt with faster and fewer businesses will be lost, making the Rows as safe as possible.  

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