Kentec at 36°06'67" N 05°20'62" W
The most southerly Kentec fire alarm panel in Europe can be found at Europa Point Lighthouse, the only light outside the UK operated by the Corporation of Trinity House.
Inaugurated in 1838, when the Dowager Queen Adelaide laid the foundation stone, Europa Light has guarded the Gibraltar Strait, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, since its first single-wick oil lamp was lighted in 1841.
Regularly updated since, it became a fully automatic, un-manned, light in 1994 after more than 150 years of continuous service. Continuous is the operative word here. Trinity House leave nothing to chance; they demand the highest standards of reliability and even their back-up plans have back-up plans.
It came as no surprise then, that Trinity House engineers asked Fire Security (Gibraltar) Ltd, well known for their high standard of service to the Gibraltar community, to specify a robust and reliable fire alarm system with a guaranteed performance. Naturally FSG designers based the system on a Kentec control panel and Hochiki conventional Photoelectric smoke detectors which, experience had taught them, would not let their customer down.
Since lighthouses operate in a hostile marine environment, for engineering design purposes they are best considered as a vertical ship. This means cable tray and glanded waterproof fittings where appropriate and in particular, every cable being labelled with an alpha numeric code number to facilitate remote fault analysis, should that ever be required.
In fact the fire alarm, engine room flooding and intruder alarm systems have proved totally reliable needing only regular routine maintenance to ensure 100% serviceability… but then, Trinity House don’t expect anything less. The capital cost of the automation was 100K and reduced annual running costs from 66K to around 14.5K. The Light is fully automated with no external control and reports events via a minicom link to the Gibraltar Port Authority 24hr control room. The Captain of the Port is the local Trinity House agent. Fire and intruder alarm events are also reported direct to Fire/Police service control rooms via FSG autodiallers.
Text and photographs gratefully received from Paul Hodkinson of FSG.