Fire Safety Experts Push for Early Detection Requirements

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Tech Electronics, a technology services organization is hosting educational seminars in effort to push fire safety officials to change codes due to the growing popularity of lightweight construction. New technology for early detection if required by code could help save lives.

“Very early detection is the key to true survivability.”

The fire safety industry is facing many changes due to the spike in the construction market and its growing use of lightweight materials in residential and commercial building. While most see lightweight construction materials as a more cost effective, quicker and environmentally safer way to build, fire experts understand the risks.

Research conducted by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), on structures built with lightweight materials has determined that from the time of ignition to the point of catastrophic structural failure could be as few as six minutes. Raising the question – if lightweight construction is inherently, unsafe then why has there not been a bigger push for early detection of smoke/fire?

“Very early detection is the key to true survivability in the event of a fire,” says Chris Wilhelm, Director of Construction for Tech Electronics. “If one is faced with only six minutes, the ability to detect fire/smoke in its infant stages is crucial in preventing loss of life.”

Advancements in air sampling and smoke detection technology have made very early detection possible. These systems are capable of fully understanding the threat, investigating and properly evaluate the situation. If a fire event should occur in lightweight construction structure, these devices can provide additional time to notify occupants to evacuate and alert first responders.

“As experts in fire and life safety technology, it is our responsibility to educate the building community and fire officials on these technologies and the importance of early detection requirements,” continues Wilhelm.

Tech Electronics, a technology services organization headquartered in St. Louis, is hosting educational seminars for building and fire officials in an effort to drive public comments towards early detection requirements. Public comments for changes to the International Residential Code are due back to the International Code Council on January 17, 2016.

Wilhelm’s next educational session on Understanding the Dangers of Lightweight Construction Seminar will be on October 29th, in St. Louis at the Sprinkler Fitters Local 268. For more information on the Lightweight Construction visit or to request an interview with Chris Wilhelm, contact Meghan Lillie at 314.951.176 or meghan.lillie(at)

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Meghan Lillie

Stephanie Micheals
since: 08/2011
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