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Fire Suppression Systems

Fire suppression systems protect buildings from structural and contents damage and save the lives of those people inside a building at the time of a fire. Fire suppression systems also trigger alarms to prompt evacuation and save lives. There are three main types of fire suppression system each with unique properties and purpose.

1. Gaseous agents
2. Wet and dry chemical agents
3. Fire sprinkler systems

Gaseous Agents

Gaseous agent systems comprise the use of inert gases and chemical agents. The chemical agents used are governed by the NFPA Standard for Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems - NFPA 2001. Typically gaseous fire suppression systems consist of the chemical agent, storage containers, a release system and a form of fire detection and alarm. One particular issue with gaseous fire suppression systems is that when certain agents are used - such as carbon dioxide - a risk of suffocation is presented. Therefore a warning system is required to provide a prior warning of agent release and occupants must evacuate the building. It is obvious to see that this type of fire protection should only be used when the presence of life is scarce, if at all, as the risk of death is heightened by the fire suppression itself. Gaseous fire suppression is useful for machinery operating independently without human presence and where water is not a viable option in preserving expensive equipment.

Fire Extinguishers - Wet and Dry Chemical Agents

Fire extinguishers are effective at putting out small fires, not fires that have already reached ceiling level. There are two main types of fire extinguisher: stored pressure and cartridge-operated extinguishers. Stored pressure extinguishers are most common and the expellant is stored in the same part of the extinguisher as the chemical agent itself. Dry stored pressure extinguishers usually use nitrogen whereas wet stored pressure extinguishers (water and foam) typically use air. Cartridge extinguishers contain a separate cartridge that is punctured prior to discharge, exposing the propellant to the extinguishing agent. Cartridge extinguishers are more commonly found in an industrial setting due to their ability to be recharged and used frequently.

Fire Sprinkler Systems

In general fire sprinkler systems are considered the most effective of all fire suppression systems because a sprinkler system can be applied in multiple environments in both domestic and commercial settings. Sprinkler systems are automatic and use water or mist - depending on the requirements of the building - to extinguish fire. Activated by a threshold of heat reaching the ceiling of a room, unlike gaseous suppression the sprinkler can safely operate with occupants still inside the building. Only sprinklers affected by the temperature threshold will activate, therefore minimising water release.

Speak to a Fire Protection Systems Specialist

If you would like further information on fire protection systems for either a domestic or commercial premises, then call Fire Fighter 24/7 today and speak with one of our expert fire safety professionals.

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