Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Airport

APOC Fire Alarm Management System

Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) is one of the world’s busiest airports with international passenger traffic.

HAL required a new control room to centralise the airport operations and standardise the processes. In order to achieve this, operational status data from disparate systems needed to be integrated and centralised. A new Fire Alarm Management System (FAMS) was necessary to provide a single system for the monitoring of fire alarm systems and devices across the airport terminals and out-buildings.

Heathrow Airport


Firstco had a very short time-scale (5-months), in order to complete the work required. This combined with input data from different systems, interfacing with IT and existing system maintainers, presented several challenges that the Firstco team managed to overcome successfully.

Challenges aside, the finished project ultimately led to major benefits in customer satisfaction, improved information and knowledge and reduced impact of false alarms. By centralising the fire alarm monitoring from distributed terminal control facilities into the new Heathrow Airport Control Centre, this led to benefits in customer satisfaction, the reduced impact of false alarms and improved information and knowledge.

It also reduced operational overhead, and improved campus wide situational awareness resulting in more effective fire alarm responses. This in turn has reduced disruption to passenger and flight schedules, due to the impact of false alarms and minor incidents.

Firstco’s Role

Firstco were commissioned by HAL to design, build, deliver and maintain a SCADA solution to provide the FAMS. The FAMS needed to graphically display all monitored devices, panels and their associated activation states on graphically distributed fire systems across Heathrow. An alarm banner and separate alarm page would also need to detail current alarms.

FAMS comprised of:

  • 8 fire alarm system interfaces
  • 1,137 graphics displaying building plans
  • 72,000 fire alarm devices
  • 116,000 alarms
  • 160,000 signals

Firstco were able to achieve this by utilising a consistent, intuitive user interface across all airport locations and by introducing a scalable solution requiring only one redundant server with significant space capacity.

An extremely quick graphics page switching and alarm annunciation was implemented – vital for a time critical system such as fire alarm response, which was easy to navigate and most importantly, highlight fire related incidents in a way that allows location and incident information to be communicated quickly and concisely.

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