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Reducing the risk of car park fires with AI

Highlight Parking has enhanced its S.A.F.E. smoke and fire detection system

12 January 2024
Highlight Parking has enhanced its S.A.F.E. smoke and fire detection system
Highlight Parking has enhanced its S.A.F.E. smoke and fire detection system

In bustling urban areas, car parks play a vital role in the daily lives of millions. However, these spaces can pose an unexpected and potentially catastrophic risk. As the recent inferno at Luton Airport showed, fires in car parks can erupt in a matter of minutes to devastating effect.

Now, Highlight Parking Systems has introduced an enhanced version of its ground-breaking AI-based solution that can significantly improve care park safety. The Highlight Smoke and Fire Early Warning System (S.A.F.E.) offers 24-hour uninterrupted monitoring of every vehicle and can detect smoke and fire within seconds.

The fire hazard in car parks

Car parks, both above and below ground, are essentially a store of flammable materials, and with hundreds of vehicles parked in close proximity, the risk of fire is ever-present. Traditional internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) powered by petrol and diesel present fire hazards due to fuel leakage, overheating engines, and electrical faults. There is also the threat of an electrical fire from the increasingly popular electric vehicles (EVs) and their charging points.
Rapid detection is critical

The key issue in car park safety is the time it takes to detect and respond to fires. Normal ‘hot wire’ detection systems can take many minutes, sometimes in excess of 10 minutes to raise an alarm, these are crucial minutes that can be the difference between a manageable incident and a disaster. Some fires escalate so quickly that by the time traditional detection systems kick in, it may be too late to prevent extensive damage or serious injury.

“An effective early detection system is much needed by car park operators,” explains Peter Gardner, Technical Director at Highlight Parking. “There have been a number of high-profile car park fires over the years including the recent fire at Luton Airport as well as the Liverpool Echo Arena fire in 2017.  While there were fortunately no casualties there was enormous damage costing insurers millions.”

Introducing S.A.F.E.

Highlight Parking Systems’ Smoke and Fire Early Warning System (S.A.F.E.) is a significant step forwards in car park safety. Using advanced AI algorithms and live camera feeds, S.A.F.E. can detect smoke and fire in mere seconds. This in turn enables significantly more response time to mitigate fire-related risks.

Immediately upon detecting a potential fire, S.A.F.E. alerts users via a range of channels, including sirens, email, and text messages. This rapid alarm system ensures that both vehicle owners and car park management can take swift action, contacting emergency services or safely dealing with the issue before the fire escalates.

Environmental and safety benefits

The greatest benefit of early fire detection is of course the enhanced safety of car park users and first responders, minimizing the risk of injury or loss of life. However, there are substantial environmental and commercial advantages too. Responding swiftly to fires, can significantly reduce resultant air pollution, toxic smoke and property damage, as well as preventing enormous insurance claims and loss of parking revenues.

In summary

In an era of ever-evolving urbanization car parks will continue to be integral part of our infrastructure for the foreseeable future and the potential fire risks associated with them will remain. The need for advanced fire detection systems in car parks is paramount to minimise the danger to the general public and the environment. Highlight Parking Systems Ltd.'s S.A.F.E. offers an effective solution by harnessing AI and camera technology to detect smoke and fire within seconds and maximising the time for the fire service to respond before the fire is out of control.

About Highlight Parking

Highlight Parking has been providing world-class parking solutions for multi-storey (MSCP) and open air car park operators for over 20 years. Our goal is to take the pain out of parking through the provision of an innovative and constantly evolving portfolio of parking management systems.

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