Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

Frank Mendham, David Cliff and Tim Horberry, Field Testing and Reliability Assessment of Video Based Fire Detection in Coal Mining and Coal Handling Environments, in Naj Aziz and Bob Kininmonth (eds.), Proceedings of the 16th Coal Operators' Conference, Mining Engineering, University of Wollongong, 10-12 February 2016, 443-450.


Previous laboratory test results and numerical modelling showed that Video Based Fire Detection (VBFD) offers a means of providing earlier fire detection compared with traditional carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in typical Australian underground mines. Additionally, from a reliability viewpoint compared with VBFD, CO detectors are subject to sensor drift and insensitivity as a result of contamination of the CO sensor device as reported by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The reliability of VBFD in an underground mining environment was unknown until field-testing as the final part of this research program was carried out. An advantage of VBFD over traditional alternatives is that the camera lens does not have to be exposed directly to the products of combustion of a fire and can view the fire effects from a distance. Given the correct operational conditions to detect early smoke (or flame), including appropriate light and a suitable viewing arrangement, VBFD provides the required early detection needed to detect early smoke production from underground mine fixed plant fires. The question of whether the harsh environment that the VBFD cameras are exposed to, such as from coal dust and diesel fuel particulates has the potential to obscure the camera vision leading to a loss of VBFD detection capability and even unwanted alarm activation, was successfully answered. The results of the Arnot Power Station investigation indicated that if proper commissioning is carried out and effective maintenance is employed, a reliable means of early smoke (and flame) detection in underground mines is possible using VBFD. This chapter concludes a three part research project in investigating and developing VBFD to improve fire life safety and asset loss control in underground mines. Overall, it found that VBFD is a more effective and more robust approach to providing timely fire detection and warning than traditional CO detectors in typical Australian underground mines.