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The importance of uninterrupted heating in refugee camps

5 min read
Insights refugee heating

In organisations’ efforts to support the comfort and wellbeing of refugees across the globe, access to reliable, consistent heating is essential. Below we break down the qualities a heating solution must provide in these tough environments, and how the Master BV range fulfils each of these.

Supplying suitable accommodation for refugees and asylum seekers is a challenge that governments and organisations globally face every single year.

According to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in 2019 there were over 2.5 million refugees based in Europe, and over 26 million worldwide. In Germany alone, approximately 800,000 asylum seekers are expected to arrive by the close of the year.

As more and more people seek protection from unfortunate situations such as war or violence, the pressure mounts to provide them with the support, resources and shelter to withstand these difficult circumstances.

Refugee camps across Europe

The need for dependable heating

Shelter is particularly pressing. From tents and dedicated refugee camps, to converted supermarkets and offices, many types of temporary accommodation must be employed to manage this influx of people. Accommodation that will often be lacking an effective heating solution.

This is critical to protect the comfort, health and overall wellbeing of refugees year-round, particular during the winter, when night temperatures can stay in minus digits for weeks. Without a reliable heat source, refugees are exposed to a wide range of cold-related conditions, including hypothermia, frostbite and trench foot.

With the continued wellbeing of refugees in these temporary shelters the number one priority until more permanent housing can be found, here we explore what a heating solution must deliver for these tough settings, and how the Master BV range meets these for our customers worldwide.

Bringing consistent, controllable heat to refugee camps

To deliver the continuous, uninterrupted heating needed to protect those in these vulnerable environments, there are numerous qualities that heating units - and the supplier behind them – must possess:

High-quality design and materials

Fundamentally, it is crucial that heating units can be relied upon when they are needed most. Refugee camps are often exposed to extended periods of bitterly cold temperatures – if a heating unit unexpectedly fails, this wintry weather can quickly make things immeasurably harder for both refugees and those supporting them on-site.

Therefore, the quality of components used in a heating unit is paramount for unwavering performance. These units will be depended upon year-round to keep occupants comfortable and protected from the elements; the better standard of design and build, the more likely they will meet this objective.

The Master BV range prioritises high-quality materials in an effort to maximise reliability. For example, the combustion chamber, one of the most crucial components of an air heater, is made from stainless steel. This maintains the performance of the chamber for the longest period of time, preserving the comfort of occupants and minimising the need for replacement parts.

The robustness and reliability of the materials used in our units ensure that they are always ready to perform, even in difficult conditions.

Safety of occupants

As well as creating the correct climate for refugees and other occupants, a heating unit must be able to deliver this safely. If any fumes are allowed to escape the combustion chamber and enter the premises, it immediately puts the health of those within it in serious danger.

That is why the Master BV range harnesses indirect fired units. This means that none of the warm air used to heat these temporary buildings ever comes in direct contact with a flame. Instead, a heat exchanger is used to ensure that only warm, clean air enters the premises, while all products of combustion escape through an external chimney.

Indirect fired heating or direct fired heating

This approach further protects the health and safety of occupants in these already challenging circumstances, and they are never exposed to any harmful residue from their heating units.

In addition, overheating an environment can be almost as problematic for occupants as no heating whatsoever. Not only can this make conditions deeply uncomfortable and put people’s wellbeing at risk, but it wastes fuel and energy, sending costs skyrocketing.

Making sure your heating units are fitted with electronic thermostats can protect against this possibility. As they are far more precise than mechanical equivalents, this ensures that the set temperature for an environment is exactly as it should be, with no room for deviation.

Exceptional heating power

Naturally, any heating solution employed in a refugee tent or temporary building must be able to heat every corner of the premises. Any cold spots can again put people’s health at risk, and create an uncomfortable environment where occupants are constantly shifting between warm and cold.

This is not a problem with Master. As our various BV units are capable of delivering between 21kW and 225kW of heat output, these are ideally suited for any size of premise, from small tents and apartment buildings, to expansive military bases.

Furthermore, the exceptional high static pressure of these units – the centrifugal versions of our AIR-BUS BV units provides up to 400Pa of air pressure – this again makes sure that warm air is projected to every area it is required, leaving no pockets of cold air.

A final unique benefit of our AIR-BUS BV unit is the ‘cold start’ button. In exceptionally cold temperatures, a conventional heater will need to be manually recalibrated in order to work properly. The cold start button handles this automatically, ensuring that your heating solution can get going immediately in the most pressing circumstances.


Efficiency and cost-effectiveness

Of course, the continued operation of refugee camps and premises carries a wide range of costs. Food and water provision. Clothing. Toiletries. Lighting. Medicine. Everything adds up, so while it is crucial that a heating solution is fit-for-purpose, it is just as important that it is efficient to operate.

Master BV units are uniquely placed to keep operating expenses as cost-effective as possible, as we are one of the few suppliers harnessing the power of recirculation. By partly recirculating the warm air inside a premise alongside fresh air from outside in our heaters, less energy has to be exerted to warm the entirely cold outdoor air.

Heating is delivered to occupants quicker and more consistently, and units run far more efficiently, leading to substantial long-term savings. In fact, our AIR-BUS BV units operate at around 92% efficiency, ensuring that operating costs are kept to a minimum.

Flexible configuration

With organisations such as the Red Cross and UNHCR required to establish refugee camps in a wide variety of premises and environments, having access to heating solutions that can readily adapt to these is incredibly beneficial.

An example of how Master’s units provide this flexibility is our AIR-BUS BV, which can connect to 1, 2 or 4 flexible tubes at once. This presents users with more options over how they utilise these units, and removes the need to acquire new units for each distinct project.

This flexibility also makes the BV range popular with rental companies, as with minimal effort these units can be configured to customers with wildly different heating requirements.

If you would like to see the power and flexibility of Master’s heating solutions in action, the below video of our units supporting a refugee camp in Croatia illustrates exactly how suited they are for these challenging environments.

Ease of installation and operation

The speed at which refugee camps must often be deployed makes it paramount that a heating unit must be quick to install and run. If it requires a deep level of technical expertise to make it operational, these delays can be costly.

Master units are incredibly easy to set up and immediately make operational. Plus, because of the high quality of materials used in their construction, they are very reliable, minimising the number of maintenance checks they require.

In addition, as all BV units are fitted with robust wheels, they can easily be transported and rapidly reinstalled in mobile refugee camps.

Unwavering support network

Finally, if things do go wrong for whatever reason, such as damage to a component, it is important that this can be immediately rectified. An extended wait for replacement parts or units can make life extremely difficult for refugees, rescue crews and others on-site – particularly during the coldest times of the year.

This is where Master’s worldwide presence is invaluable for our customers. With distributors and service points established globally, and an abundant availability of spare parts and consumables, any issues can be addressed quickly. No delays, no persistent problems for areas in need of heating.

Uncover the benefits of Master today

In critical environments like refugee camps, access to dependable, straightforward and adaptable heating solutions is crucial. We hope that through this article, we have demonstrated how Master BV units are ideally suited to meet the challenges these locations face head-on.

Master tent heater benefits

If you would like to learn more, you can explore the range of BV products below, or use the contact form to get in touch with a member of our team.

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