A Fire Suppression System Can Save Your Business: Learn How
The importance of fire safety in your commercial establishment cannot be overstated. A serious fire could cause severe injury or death to employees or customers. Lawsuits filed in the aftermath of a fire could be financially disastrous. Even a minor fire could damage inventory, ruin equipment, or destroy important business records. A fire suppression system is an important addition to the fire safety equipment in your business, rental property, or commercial facility.
Basic Uses for a Fire Suppression System
A fire suppression system can improve overall facility safety by stopping fires before they spread. They are often tied into fire detection and alarm systems and are configured to activate automatically if conditions indicating a fire are detected. Some fire suppression systems can also be manually activated by an employee or other person who discovers a fire.
Unlike fire extinguishers, which are intended to be used on smaller localized fires, fire suppression systems usually operate over a large area, ranging from room-size spaces to the dimensions of the entire facility. They are most often installed in the ceiling or other overhead areas, with the nozzles that release suppressants extending through ceiling tiles. They may be equipped with sensors of their own that operate independently from your other smoke and heat detecting equipment.
Types of Fire Suppression Systems
Water: Sprinklers and water-based systems are among the most common types of fire safety equipment. When these systems activate, they send a cascade of water downward into the area where the fire has been detected. The water puts the fire out and creates wet areas that can keep a fire from spreading in case it starts up again. Sprinkler systems often have heat sensors in or near the nozzles that cause the water flow to begin when a high level of heat is detected. Wet systems always have water in the sprinkler pipes; dry systems require manual attachment of a water source to the pipes.
Inert gases: Inert gas-based systems use gases such as argon or carbon dioxide to remove oxygen from the air and prevent combustion. These types of fire suppression systems are commonly used in computer rooms, areas where historical or valuable documents are stored, and in other areas where the damage to the contents of the room must be kept at a minimum.
Chemical agents: Chemical fire suppression systems use foams and other substances to smother fires and, in some cases, remove oxygen from the air so that the fire can no longer burn. Both wet and dry chemicals can be used, with the choice based on the types of material kept in the area and how that material may react to fire suppression chemicals.
Cautions When Using a Fire Suppression System
Maintenance: Fire suppression systems, including smoke detectors and fire alarms, should be properly maintained and inspected on a schedule established in your facility safety plan or by local fire safety officials.
Health risks: Some types of fire suppression material can be dangerous to human health. The inert gases in some systems rob the air of oxygen, which could cause asphyxiation. Chemical agents may also be harmful for similar reasons.
Associated damage: Depending on the type of suppressant material used, a fire suppression system can also cause damage to your facility and its contents. Sprinklers, for example, can add associated water damage to any problems caused by smoke or fire. Foams from chemical-based systems add extra time and effort to cleanup and recovery efforts. However, any possible damage caused by these important safety systems is usually considered an acceptable alternative to the potential catastrophe that can result from a large or uncontrolled fire.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about plumbing, HVACR, fire protection and alarm systems in mechanical, commercial and residential settings. For more information on using a fire suppression system to protect your commercial facility, and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!