What is a Fire Suppression System?
There are various factors to consider when selecting the right fire protection system for a building, workplace or general facility. Rooms that contain a large amount of electrical equipment, perishable items, or that are occupied by people are all factors that will affect the type of fire suppression system to be used.
A fire suppression system is an engineered group of units that are designed to contain or extinguish fires by applying a suppressing agent. These systems aim to take action before the fire gets a chance to grow and spread in order to minimize potential damages and ultimately save lives.
Fire suppression systems have built-in components that detect fires at their initial stages through heat, smoke, or other cautionary signals. These components are attached to an alarm system that will alert you when the fire has been sensed and initiate action to begin suppressing the fire.
There are several types of fire suppression systems that offer various levels of protection. Therefore, it is imperative to understand which ones work best in different situations. Fire sprinklers, for example, can be ineffective against certain types of fires and may cause water damage to equipment, whereas other types of fire suppression systems may offer a more effective method of fire protection.
Unlike fire sprinklers, fire suppression systems use other types of suppressing agents besides water. These agents include CO2, chemicals, or inert gases. They possess distinctive properties ideal for protecting sensitive equipment, people and contents within a building even while suppressing a fire.
Types of Fire Suppression Systems Available
Several fire suppression systems are available today, each used for protection in different applications and environments. We have compiled a list of five of the best fire suppression systems and their particular functions.
1. HFC227ea FM-200® (DuPontTM) – Clean Agent
Otherwise known as FM-200® trademarked through DuPontTM, this fast-acting fire protection system has a history of preventing fire damage to the world’s most crucial and irreplaceable assets.
DuPontTM FM-200® is one of the most widely used clean agent fire suppression systems in the world. Unlike dry chemicals, the FM-200® is a colourless, odourless gas that leaves no residue and does not require any clean-ups. This system discharges gas quickly and effectively, reaching extinguishing levels in 10 seconds or less.
Introduced as a replacement for Halon gas, HFC227ea is an environmentally friendly fire suppressant and is safe to use in occupied spaces. The FM-200® meets international fire protection standards, including the NFPA 2001: Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems and the ISO-14520: Gaseous Fire Extinguishing Systems.
These systems are used to stop combustible, electrical, and flammable liquid fires before they cause severe damage. Additionally, it is an electrically non-conductive agent, which means it will not short out electronics. It is also safe to be used in the presence of people.
2. NovecTM (3MTM) – Clean Agent
The 3MTM NovecTM 1230, also known as the FK-5-1-12 extinguishing agent, is a fire protection fluid and clean agent that acts as a fire extinguisher. This system discharges in ten seconds or less to extinguish fires rapidly and minimize damage to assets.
NovecTM 1230 and FM-200® share many similar properties, however, they are different chemical compounds. NovecTM 1230 is a fluoroketone, whereas FM-200® is a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC). The difference is that NovecTM 1230 is a more environmentally friendly clean agent than FM-200® and has a lower global warming potential (GWP).
It contains carbon, fluoride, and oxygen elements and is safe to be used in buildings occupied by humans. NovecTM 1230 fluid is typically used to protect electronic equipment and the data stored on it from fire damage. It is also used as a fire protection solution for valuable and irreplaceable assets such as paper archives, historical documents, priceless works of art, and antiques.
A carbon dioxide fire suppression system dispels a heavy blanket of gas that reduces the oxygen level to a point where combustion cannot occur.
A fire needs 3 elements to ignite and burn: heat, oxygen and fuel. If one of these elements is removed, the fire will be extinguished. A CO2 fire suppression system eliminates oxygen in order to suppress and extinguish a fire.
Since carbon dioxide is a gas, there is no clean-up necessary after this system is discharged. This gas fire protection system type is highly effective and available for use in various scenarios to suppress a variety of fire hazards.
CO2 gas suppression systems are not safe for occupiable spaces. Prolonged exposure to the gas can cause suffocation and asphyxiation to humans. CO2 fire suppression systems are mostly used in non-occupied spaces such as engine rooms, generator rooms, power stations, server rooms, and around large industrial machines.
4. Inergen® – Inert Gas
The Inert Gas Fire Suppression System is a breathable gaseous extinguishing agent consisting of mixtures of various inert gas types. The most common mixture includes Nitrogen (52%), Argon (40%), and Carbon Dioxide (8%).
No other inert gas can rapidly extinguish a fire and simultaneously provide a safe environment for any person within the occupied space. As it only consists of natural gases, Inergen® fire suppression systems are able to extinguish fires without causing harm to people, property or the environment.
Inergen® is designed to detect smoke, release the extinguishing gas and subdue the fire before any significant damage occurs. It is intended to exceed the requirements of the World Standard for Gaseous fire extinguishing systems.
5. Low-Pressure Water Mist System
The water mist fire suppression system is a highly effective extinguishing system that uses water and air to generate fine water droplets. These water droplets create a mist that covers a large surface area to contain and extinguish a fire.
The system uses less water per discharge than any traditional sprinkler. Post-discharge cleaning time is therefore minor, and significant damages and losses are minimized.
The Low-Pressure Water Mist System effectively extinguishes a fire in mere seconds and, unlike gaseous systems, is highly effective even when limited ventilation is present.
Fire and Security Techniques
Fire and Security Techniques is a South African-based manufacturer and supplier of high-tech automatic fire suppression systems throughout Africa. We are a dedicated supply and trade support company.
We offer a wide range of products and services that will help to protect you, your home, and your businesses in the event of a fire. We are devoted to supporting you by providing high-quality solutions that will minimize damages and costs in case of a fire. We’ve got you covered.