From left, Amanda Kimball and Casey Grant of the Fire Protection Research Foundation, present the Ronald K. Mengel Award to Lance Ruetimann at the 2015 SUPDET Conference in Orlando, Florida.
The Fire Protection Research Foundation’s 2015 Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications (SUPDET) Conference began Tuesday, March 3, in Orlando, Florida, with the presentation of the Ronald K. Mengel Award for most outstanding fire detection presentation.
Lance Ruetimann, the senior manager of industry affairs for Siemens Switzerland Ltd. was honored with the award for his presentation, “Reducing False Fire Alarms: A Study of Selected European Countries.”
The presentation, which Ruetimann gave at last year’s SUPDET Conference, focused on the consequences of and potential solution to nuisance fire alarms in European countries. With an average false alarm rate of more than 90 percent for fire alarm systems, some cash-strapped fire departments in Europe have altered their response procedures to alarms. Changes have included charging for false alarms, requiring visual confirmation of fire before deploying assets, and stopping automated alarm transmissions altogether. Ruetimann’s presentation looked at the cause of false alarms, the consequences of these changing fire service responses, and identified best practice examples by looking at different approaches in each European country studied.
“What was found is promising in defining and deploying measures to reduce false alarm rates for fire safety system, whilst also increasing the overall safety of the system,” Ruetimann wrote in his accompanying paper on the study.
Ruetimann, a native of Switzerland, had never attended a SUPDET Conference prior to giving last year’s presentation. On Tuesday, he said he was “surprised and honored” by the award and told conference attendees that fire detection challenges are truly a global issue.
“The only thing that divides us is about 5,000 miles of water,” Ruetimann said in accepting the award. “The issues we face are the same.”
The award is named for Ronald Mengel, who for many years was the vice president of industry affairs of the system sensor division of Honeywell Corporation. Mengel was instrumental in Honeywell’s efforts in industry-sponsored research and training. He contributed to a number of Foundation projects and served on the Foundation’s Fire Detection and Alarm Research Advisory Council.
The 2015 SUPDET Conference, held this year from March 3-6 at the Wyndham Orland Resort, features more than 30 presentations on the latest developments in research, technology, and applications of fire suppression and detection.