Underground mining is an exceptionally hazardous environment, as persons who work underground have limited means to escape in the event of any fire.

In certain situations, there is only one escape path, which can be many kilometres long. Therefore fire-detection systems are critical for both the protection of life and property.

Giving underground workers the earliest possible warning of a fire, or an impending fire, allows them the maximum time possible to respond to the fire and extinguish it, or to escape from the hazardous area if the fire is too large for them to tackle, ASP Fire CEO Michael van Niekerk explains.

Heavy machinery that operates on the surface is also a high-risk environment, as the operators are often in cabs high above the ground, with only a single means of escape in the event of any emergency. “Being able to save a multi-million rand machine from damage or total loss due to fire has obvious cost benefits for a mine,” van Niekerk points out.

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