Real Time "tunnel Vision" Gives Sydney Harbour Tunnel Fire Detection System

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19th October 2009, 08:34pm - Views: 937

People Feature Chubb Australasia 1 image

Chubb Australasia

149-155 Milton St  

Ashfield NSW 2131


Tel +61 (0) 2 9930 4222

Chubb Security Holdings Australia Ltd. ACN 003 590 921


Real Time “Tunnel Vision” Gives Sydney Harbour Tunnel New Advanced

Fire Detection System

Sydney, Australia, 20 October 2009 – The Sydney Harbour Tunnel Company (SHTC) has invested in

an upgraded

digital video fire detection system which will go live next month, providing early

smoke and flame detection throughout the 2.3km long, four lane tunnel.

Accurate and reliable smoke detection in road tunnels is notoriously difficult due to the twin problems of

near continuous air movement and exhaust fumes from vehicles.  However the upgraded FireVu Video

Smoke Detection

system, from Chubb Australasia,

can ‘see’

the source of smoke and/or flames,

identifying them anywhere within its field of view. This early “at source detection” is faster than other forms

of detection as it is not waiting for the smoke to reach the detector.

Bob Allen, General Manager of Sydney Harbour Tunnel comments, “Our original system at the time of

opening in 1992, was based on thermal detectors with a ‘rate of rise’ algorithm which of course meant long

delays before an alarm condition was reached”.

“With advances in technology, we are always looking for the most effective systems of fire detection to

ensure the best possible safety levels are in place.  We cannot afford to be complacent.” 

The new FireVu



being installed at the North Sydney control centre and the existing VSD-8

system is being transferred to an emergency control room in Bradfield Park.  The emergency control room

has been designed as a back up to the North Sydney facilities.  The VSD-8 and FireVu system installed by

Chubb Australasia over the last four years represent a half a million dollar investment by Sydney Harbour

Tunnel Company.

Shaun Smith, Business Development Manager, Chubb Australasia comments, “The FireVu system has

proven to minimise potential fire risks extremely effectively for large facilities and its adaptation for the

Sydney Harbour Tunnel is an ideal application. FireVu, based on Anglo Designs (AD)

NetVu connected

“Generation 3” platform, operates over an IP network and has been retrofitted to 80 of the tunnel's CCTV

cameras – 40 in the north bound, 40 in the south bound tunnel - to provide a rapid identification of potential


FireVu works by using standard CCTV cameras as sensors. The video information fed into FireVu uses

extensive algorithms to analyse pixel movements. Should the motion patterns be recognised as smoke

and/or flames, the system will generate an alarm.

It has the ability to use image-processing technology


alert the system operator to the presence of


in the shortest possible time -

this is especially critical in a confined tunnel environment. 

Unlike traditional methods, by effectively detecting smoke at source, FireVu does not rely on the proximity

of smoke/flame to the detector and is therefore unaffected by distance. 

People Feature Chubb Australasia 2 image

Chubb Australasia

149-155 Milton St  

Ashfield NSW 2131


Tel +61 (0) 2 9930 4222

Chubb Security Holdings Australia Ltd. ACN 003 590 921

An operator can use a standard PC (with viewing software loaded) to view individual or multiple camera

images in real time. When an event occurs, a live image showing clear boundaries of the alarm area is

displayed to the operator with the option to view pre-event recorded footage, invaluable in reacting to the

incident in the quickest and safest way.

All alarm events are recorded to disk with configurable pre and post event video, allowing the operator to

witness (and download) the event, including who or what created it. 

The system has been trialled



Sydney Harbour Tunnel Company

running a series of controlled

vehicle fires in the tunnel with the assistance and oversight of the New South Wales Fire Brigade. These

exercises were created to demonstrate

the tunnel's exhaust system's ability to remove smoke, the

activation of the point detectors, and the capability of the deluge system to suppress a fire.  FireVu alarms

were activated within seconds of visible smoke and prior to visible flames.

The FireVu solution is capable of providing real time Video streams from all cameras which are stored on

the units onboard configurable hard drives.  For the Sydney Harbour Tunnel the FireVu hardware transmits

its alarm signals to the dedicated Chubb “NFP2” fire panel within the tunnel control centre in North Sydney.

Bob Allen says, “Our approach is risk averse and the new FireVu not only provides us with earlier detection

capability but also minimises what we call nuisance (false alarm) calls.  The technology is second to none

but we cannot overlook the monitoring and essential manual backup from our dedicated 24-hour manned

control room. Working together we have the best fire protection system in place.”


For more images/information contact: 

Daniel Marks

Chubb Australasia (A UTC Fire & Security Company)

(02) 9930-4433 or 0401-779-055  

Chubb Australasia is part of UTC Fire & Security, a company that provides fire safety and security solutions to more

than one million customers worldwide. Headquartered in Connecticut, USA, UTC Fire & Security is a business unit of

United Technologies Corp., which provides high technology products and services to the building and aerospace

industries worldwide. More information about UTC Fire & Security and Chubb can be found on their web sites at

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