<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=858597241848862&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Interview with Marc Marichal - Vanbreda

Vanbreda Risk & Benefits

25 June 2021

Vanbreda Risk & Benefits is the largest independent Belgian insurance broker and risk consultant and the leading insurance partner in the Benelux. With a team of ±650 employees, they advise more than 25,000 corporate clients in the field of insurance, risk management, claims settlement and employee benefits. Headquartered in Antwerp, they serve customers in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. We spoke to Marc Marichal, fire safety engineer at Vanbreda.

Marc Marichal is an engineer at Vanbreda, specializing in fire safety issues. From doctors to large international companies; Marichal advises clients on their company's fire safety and on specific insurance issues. Presscon's nitrogen solutions certainly play a role in this.

High Bays with hypoxic systems

The first high-bay warehouse (“High Bay”) with hypoxy protection was built in Belgium 20 years ago. “Belgium is a small country, so there is a lack of space. In addition, companies invested more and more in automation. This created a clear demand for high-bay warehouses,” says Marichal. Hypoxic systems are of great importance in this regard. Marichal is convinced that when a good installation and the correct oxygen concentration is used, the chance of a fire breaking out is almost 0%. "Why wait for a big fire to use the sprinklers, when you can also prevent the fire in its entirety by using hypoxic systems?" This is exactly the vision of Presscon FX Prevent.

Nitrogen solution vs. traditional fire prevention

Marichal clearly sees the benefits of using nitrogen for fire prevention compared to traditional solutions. “Take server rooms, for example. An insurance company will probably recommend a (gas) extinguishing system. These systems are often very expensive and require periodic checks and maintenance. In addition, for example, a false alarm in which the extinguishing system is activated, the system must be refilled. While the system is being topped up, there is no protection. In addition, the high pressure of some (gas) extinguishing systems can damage parts in the system it is designed to protect. This is in addition to the damage caused by the fire and smoke, because these can already be present when the extinguishing system is activated”.

With hypoxic, the chances of fire and smoke getting into your system are close to zero. This system is clean, it works continuously, it is easy to use and very consistent. “That's also why I'm so positive about Presscon's systems,” says Marichal. “I have a lot of respect for that, because you have to do a very good job to be able to make simple machines”. In addition, hypoxic systems are modular and very practical. Marichal explains this: “For example, if a tube is damaged or not good, it is very easy to replace that tube”. The systems are very reliable. It is not for nothing that the fire safety engineer at Vanbreda is convinced that inerting is a very good way to protect goods and services.

Even when the oxygen level rises, it doesn't happen in minutes or days. It can take weeks, or even months for the oxygen level to get to a point where a problem arises. So you see the problem coming much faster than with a traditional fire safety system.

The future

According to Marichal, every large company in the food industry will build a high-bay warehouse because they have to automate storage. Even smaller companies would go that way. The advantage of an automated High Bay is that periodic checks by people are no longer necessary. When there is more automation, better control and intervention by people is (almost) no longer necessary.

Why nitrogen solutions offer a solution for every company 

“The problem is the safety of people going in and out of space”, Marichal indicates. “Some people will say that a reduced oxygen level is dangerous”. This is not the case with hypoxic systems. In an airplane, where people are often sitting in it for several hours, it simulates a reduced oxygen level due to pressure. People with underlying health problems may need to examined, but for medically healthy people there is no risk. People don't even realise they are in a room with a reduced oxygen level. “The problem is, therefore, that this fear is irrational,” Marichal says.

Presscon is therefore convinced that education about these systems is key. In certain circumstances, fire prevention using nitrogen is simply the best solution. It is therefore very nice to work with a company that believes in this technology and has a much broader and more strategic view of fire prevention solutions, such as the use of hypoxic systems.

HubSpot Video