“A fire alarm system is also an essential component for the safety of a fire station building. It doesn’t just protect the valuable equipment and emergency vehicles, but can also be used for efficient training for the emergency forces.”
Thomas Fraungruber, Commander of the Marchtrenk volunteer fire brigade
No volunteer fire brigade wants to experience this fire event: an emergency in their own building. The risk of this happening is high, though, because the locations are unoccupied, and a lot of electrical equipment is in continuous use at the same time. A fire alarm system provides an important safeguard here, which is why Schrack Seconet supports volunteer fire brigades with its own complete package.
Many of the electrical devices used by fire brigades are permanently connected to the power grid so that the batteries are charged in the event of an emergency. “Quite a few chargers are plugged in 24/7. All vehicles and equipment are always supplied with electricity so that they’re ready for action in an emergency,” clarifies Günter Reichhardt, commander of the Axberg volunteer fire brigade in Upper Austria. This means that there’s a high risk of a short circuit or overheating. Tests by Schrack Seconet with thermal imaging cameras have shown, for example, that a temperature of 70 °C can occur in battery charging boxes. This can happen even if high-quality equipment is used, because every point of energy is a source of danger. Fire brigades have plenty of these: “there are often ten or even more devices in an emergency vehicle that are permanently charged. Portable searchlights, radios, measuring devices, etc.,” says Wolfgang Niederauer, commander of the Schwadorf volunteer fire brigade near Vienna.
On top of this, often a short circuit goes unnoticed for a while, because a fire brigade building is only manned when there’s an alarm. However, even a small event of fire can cause significant damage –the toxic smoke often requires expensive renovation. Only a few years ago, there was a fire in the vehicle hall of the Bregenz fire brigade. Although it was detected quickly and extinguished within a few minutes, several vehicles were damaged. An even more serious fire occurred in a community on Lake Neusiedl: the fire station building was damaged and the fire engine was even completely destroyed.
An incident like this can make it difficult for fire protection to run smoothly for a long period, and other fire brigades might have to take over the emergency services for a community. Replacing an emergency vehicle with a call for tenders usually takes a year or even longer, even with accelerated procurement, and means high costs – a fully equipped emergency vehicle can be worth 500,000 euro.
So, preventive fire protection is a reasonable investment, especially for the sensitive areas around the vehicle hall. “The emergency vehicles are the core of a fire brigade, and it feels really good when this area is monitored. That’s why we decided to install a fire alarm system in the vehicle hall and the workshops in our new building,” says Wolfgang Niederauer from the Schwadorf volunteer fire brigade.
In Upper and Lower Austria as well as in Burgenland alone, about 75 volunteer fire brigades have taken advantage of Schrack Seconet’s special offer in recent years, which, in addition to preventive fire protection, also includes solutions for access and alarm systems. The offer also won over the Marchtrenk volunteer fire brigade, which installed a fire alarm system while renovating their building.
Commander Thomas Fraungruber emphasises: “a fire alarm system is also an essential component for the safety of a fire station building. It doesn’t just protect the valuable equipment and emergency vehicles, but can also be used for efficient training for the emergency forces.” This benefit is also emphasised by Wolfgang Niederauer from Schwadorf: “it’s really very practical to be able to do the regular training right here on site.”
Photo: Freiwillige Feuerwehr Schwadorf