Frequently Asked Questions on Low Fire Hazard cables

Airport hallSafety is a major concern and the problem of indoor fires is often underestimated. The most commonly identified cause of death from a fire incident is being overcome by gas or smoke. In the Fifties the average time from ignition of a fire to flashover was 15 minutes. Now fatal conditions can occur after 3 minutes. This change has come about because of the increase of plastics in our homes.

It is sensible to conclude that the reduction of smoke and effluent gases is relevant to saving human lives and facilitating the work of rescue teams and that the increased use of plastics in the last 50 years has had a dramatic effect on escape times.

Fires have also a significant impact on our economy.

Aware of the demand of customers and of the necessity to provide safer cables Nexans has developed a family of Low Fire Hazard Cables that couple low flame spread and heat release with very low emission of smoke and dangerous gases: the ALSECURE range. These cables help provide more time to escape and a less hazardous environment for rescue teams.
 

1. How can Low Fire Hazard cables contribute to Fire Safety ?

2. Is the quantity of cables installed in a construction relevant compared with other products ?

3. Aren’t Low Fire-Hazard cables difficult to find and most of the time more expensive than standard cable types?

4. Do Low Fire-Hazard cables carry less current than standard cables? Is their capacity lower compared with standard version?

5. Do low fire-hazard cables cover the same complete range as standard cables ?

6. Which application can benefit from  the improved fire performance of Low Fire-Hazard cables?

7. Cables are usually installed inside walls. Why should low fire-hazard cables be used?

8. Low Fire-Hazard cables are not specified by any current Installation Standard or Regulation. Why should I install them?

 

 

1. How can Low Fire-Hazard cables contribute to Fire Safety?

People in the officeThe main cause of casualties in indoor fire are smoke and hazardous emissions which significantly reduce the chance to escape and extend the damage to goods far behind the burned area. The contribution of cables is key both in active and passive protection. Fire resistant cables are an essential component of any alarm circuit. A low level of opacity of smoke produced and acidity of the effluent are basic criteria in the selection of materials that, in the event of fire, make it possible to reduce the presence of dangerous gases and to facilitate escape. It is essential that the production of opaque smoke and harmful emissions is as low as possible during a fire. The majority of deaths in a fire are due to inhaling dangerous gases. It is vital to reduce the exposure time to these gases by facilitating safe evacuation with the best possible visibility Low fire hazard cables ensure lower smoke opacity and gases emissions, prevent flame from spreading and reduce heat release. A recent simulation done by one of the most renown Fire Engineering Universities clearly proved the critical contribution of cables to emissions and fire escape.

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2. Is the quantity of cables installed in a construction relevant compared with other products?

Cables are around us and most of the time not visible once they are installed. They link rooms and floors and go through the walls without interruption. In the event of a fire, cables can therefore be a vital vector of propagation of fire to the whole building through the cabling system. The sheer volume of cables in modern buildings due to the rapid technological evolution (electrical appliances, telephones, computer connections…) can be astonishing. In many office and shop buildings, new cables are added, for upgraded IT networks or new electrical security standards. All these cables represent a significant quantity of fuel for fire. In the Fifties the average time from ignition of a fire to flashover was 15 minutes. Now fatal conditions can occur after 3 minutes. This change has come about because of the increase of plastics in our homes.

The increased use of plastics in the last 50 years has had a dramatic effect on escape times, therefore any effort aiming at reducing hazardous emissions is relevant.

The adoption of Alsecure® cables in high fire hazard projects provides an actual contribution to safety of living and inanimate beings.

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3. Aren’t Low Fire-Hazard cables difficult to find and most of the time more expensive than standard cable types?

hospitalFor years ALSECURE cables have been sold and available in the warehouse of most European Wholesalers. Don’t hesitate to contact our sales department to get the list of the closest dealers.

As they provide higher fire performances, Low Fire-Hazard cables are more expensive than standard cables. Thanks to its Innovation in processes and materials, Nexans strives to reduce that price gap to a minimum that can be considered negligible compared to the cost of the electric installation and to the cost of the building.

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4. Do Low Fire-Hazard cables carry less current than standard cables? Is their capacity lower compared with standard version?

Low fire hazard cables perform as well as standard cables. Low Fire-Hazard versions of standard cable types - either power or telecom – have identical electrical properties. They carry the same current and have the same capacity when comparing cables rating and the same operating temperature or protocol.

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5. Do low fire-hazard cables cover the same complete range as standard cables ?

The range of Low Fire-Hazard cables covers all rated voltages and telecom applications that are currently installed in constructions that is to say:

  • Power cables 300/500 V – 450/750 V – 0.6/1 kV
  • Data cables Cat.6 – Cat 6e – Cat.7
  • Telecom cables
  • Fire Alarm cables
  • Emergency circuits cables

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6. Which application can benefit from  the improved fire performance of Low Fire-Hazard cables?

shopping centreAll applications can benefit from the adoption of Low Fire-Hazard cables thanks to their lower environmental impact at the end of their life cycle.

Some applications can also benefit from the higher safety provided in case of fire.

Low Fire-Hazard cables are designed for Fire Hazard constructions like shopping centres, disco, cinema and theatres, offices, hotel, public buildings, schools, museums, historical buildings, libraries, data centres.

Low Fire-Hazard cables of High Performances are specially designed for High Fire Hazard constructions like Metro, tunnel, elderly houses, jails, nurseries, high-rise buildings, hospitals.

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7. Cables are usually installed inside walls. Why should low fire-hazard cables be used?

All applications can benefit from the adoption of Low Fire-Hazard cables thanks to their lower environmental impact at the end of their life cycle. The benefit is obviously even bigger when that feature is coupled with the higher fire safety related with low emissions of smoke and hazardous gasses.

Each construction comprises protected and non protected installations from direct contact with fire. Despite the fact that Low Fire-Hazard cables are easily identifiable, greater attention must be paid to avoid the installation of standard cables instead of Low Fire-Hazard ones.

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8. Low Fire-Hazard cables are not specified by any current Installation Standard or Regulation. Why should I install them?

Low Fire-Hazard cables are already proposed as an option in most of the existing Installation Standards. The responsibility to adopt and install Low Fire-Hazard cables lies in the hand of the Electrical Designer/ Engineer based on the construction type and the risk of fire. The problem of indoor fires is often underestimated.

The most commonly identified cause of death from a fire incident is being overcome by gas or smoke . In the Fifties the average time from ignition of a fire to flashover was 15 minutes. Now fatal conditions can occur after 3 minutes. This change has come about because of the increase of plastics in our homes . The extended use of plastics in the last 50 years has had a dramatic effect on evacuation time.

The reduction of smoke and effluent gases strongly contributes to saving human lives and facilitating the work of rescue teams.