WILLIAMSBURG, VA.—When a large resort in Williamsburg, Va., was upgrading its fire alarm and mass notification system, it worked with ADT Commercial to select an aspirating smoke detector called VESDA-E VEA, manufactured by Xtralis, a global provider of early detection of fire and gas threats. The device draws in air samples from each area or room through small, flexible tubing. The air is then analyzed to identify the presence of minute smoke particles in a continuous process.
The technology was first introduced in the early 1980s by Xtralis as the VESDA system. The company now offers the VEA model, which consists of small, unobtrusive sample points. The air is analyzed using sophisticated laser-based technology at the central unit located within 300 feet.
As a multi-channel, addressable system, the central detection unit can identify the sampling point that is detecting smoke and supports up to 40 sample points.
“Aspirating technology allows maintenance and annual testing to occur at a central unit like the VEA with two smoke chambers on the ground—eliminating the need for special equipment and extra effort,” says Bill Van Loan, President of Critical Systems, LLC, a Marietta, Ga.-based full-service fire alarm life safety and building security company owned by ADT Commercial.
He adds that the system is self-cleaning and able to automatically detect and eliminate clogs in the tubes or ports caused by dust or debris.
Performs Automatic Self-Cleaning Maintenance
“The really nice thing about the VEA is that it is self-cleaning. It calibrates and looks for an equal intake on all the sampling ports and determines if there is a difference like a clog in a sampling port or tube. If it detects a clog, it performs automatic self-cleaning maintenance,” says Van Loan. Essentially, the pump draws any dust or debris from the sampling points back through the unit’s filtration system to perform cleaning.
While such technology can be customized to achieve code-compliant coverage in a wide range of high ceiling open space settings, it is flexible enough to adapt to remodels to increase occupancy in a hotel room, floor, or tower by providing earlier smoke detection.
“With aspirating technology, early smoke detection allows hospitality managers to put more occupants in a given indoor space. In the event of a fire, its earlier notification capabilities allow guests to exit the building faster, which is what performance-based fire protection designs using the VEA is all about,” says Van Loan.
For the hospitality industry, aspirating technology can help simplify the inspection and maintenance of smoke detectors while bolstering safety. This will help to facilitate a more secure, relaxed environment with less intrusive, less labor-and-equipment-intensive inspection, testing and maintenance—which can boost the bottom line.