Tunnels are an essential part of travel infrastructure but possessing a dangerous feature: the incidence of fires is increasing. Within road tunnels, such unhappy events can occur as a result of vehicle collisions; overheating braking systems; overheating engines; and other accidental, deliberate, or negligent actions. Similarly, rail tunnels are at risk of fires within passenger or freight rolling stock. Due to the enclosed nature of a tunnel’s structure, the control of heat and smoke is a priority. Assuring the safety of life, and the integrity of the tunnel’s construction is our duty.
Life safety may be at further risk if the design of the tunnel has not made provision for adequate means of escape or refuge – which can be the case within older tunnels, constructed under old standards that may have put less emphasis on life safety than modern tunnel standards. Further to this, the emission and concentration of thick smoke and intense heat within the tunnel can present severe technical challenges to firefighters, during their rescue activities.
In response to this, Ultra Fog has developed a water-mist fire suppression system for tunnels. Designed to be simple, robust, reliable; the system efficiently cools the heat and smoke at the source of a fire, while consuming considerably less water than conventional deluge systems. Ultra Fog water mist is highly effective at blocking the radiant heat emanated, thereby creating a cooling barrier between the fire and the tunnel’s walls, to preserve the structural integrity of the tunnel. Ultra Fog tunnels systems can be controlled instantly, from the safety of a control room located outside the tunnel, and they can be configured to operate manually or automatically in conjunction with 3rd party fire detection systems. As there is no need to wait for the firefighters to arrive – the Ultra Fog water mist can be activated as soon as a fire is detected while the flame remains relatively small, potentially enabling firefighters to perform search and rescue duties sooner.
Ultra Fog’s tunnel systems are ultra reliable. Having built upon 30 years’ of experience of the design and manufacture of water mist systems for the marine, land and offshore markets, Ultra Fog has developed a water mist system specifically to address the technical challenges posed by fires within tunnels. [[This has been validated with full-scale fire tests at the Applus+ TST tunnel test facility, during which 50MW, 100MW, and 200MW fires were tested.]] Furthermore, all the future testing will be performed at our brand new fire laboratory whose features are unique in the world.
Ultra Fog tunnel systems are designed to be as simple as possible – to ensure reliability, ease of maintenance, and to minimise the costs associated with the installation and through-life maintenance. Investment in an Ultra Fog tunnel system is primarily an investment in life safety, but secondary benefits include the protection of physical assets, lower insurance premiums, faster clean-up and repair after a fire; and less downtime, closure, and disruption.