Fire Suppression Systems: What Options Do You Have?

When it comes to fire suppression systems there are several options out there that you need to take into consideration. Of course, when you are dealing with something as serious as fire safety it is always advisable to take your time and to be absolutely sure that you have made the correct decision as lives may indeed be at risk. In this instance a little knowledge can indeed go a long way.

Having this kind of system in place is also a legal requirement for a whole host of buildings and indeed it is up to you the owner to make sure that you have the correct system installed to meet your needs. The one thing that has to be made absolutely clear is that you must seek the advice of an expert who will not only look at your situation, but then advise you correctly on what you need to do next.


The Different Fire Suppression System Options.

Inert Gas System.

The first option that we will look at is called the inert gas suppression system and this basically means that it uses gases that are naturally occurring around us. What this system does is it suppresses the amount of oxygen surrounding the fire as the air contains approximately 21% oxygen, but a fire only needs 15% to survive. Clearly it makes sense to reduce that percentage as quickly as possible because without the oxygen the fire cannot breath and it will lead to it being extinguished.

However, we need to mention that us humans can survive on only 12% oxygen, so these suppression systems will reduce the oxygen to a level where the fire cannot continue, but we can.

Typically there are two main mixes of inert gases that are used for this very reason. One is a mixture of mainly Argon followed by Nitrogen, and a small amount of Carbon dioxide. The second eliminates the Carbon dioxide with both being effective at extinguishing a fire.

Synthetic Gas System.

The synthetic gas system will instantly alert you to the fact that it contains gases that have been made by man and are not natural. The role that they play in extinguishing a fire is different in that it focuses more on removing the heat element rather than suppressing oxygen levels. There are two main options available should this approach be determined as the best for you and it is worth looking at both individually in order to give a better explanation as to how they work.

The first can be referred to as FM200 or alternatively HFC227ea and this is the preferred method of fire suppression within a space that is normally occupied in some way. It is often used in call centres, hospitals, and delivery rooms and it is also a water free option.

You only require a small amount to extinguish a fire and it is known to work extremely fast reducing the amount of damage that the fire can cause. It uses a substance that actually appears in medical inhalers, so it is completely safe to use and it is recommended for use with electrical fires as well as those caused by flammable liquids.

The other method is known as Novec1230 and this is regarded as being a more up to date alternative to the FM200 system mentioned above. This system is actually a liquid when kept at room temperature and it works by simply cooling the area and, therefore, removing the heat element that plays a key role in the fire.

The amount that is required to suppress a fire is extremely small at just over 5% and this means that smaller cylinders are required leading to it taking up less space. This method is also used for spaces that tend to be occupied with them appearing in the same locations that were described earlier.

CO2 Fire Suppression.

The Co2 fire suppression system is widely regarded as being the most efficient way to extinguish fires that is currently available on the market. It works by not only cooling the fire, but by also removing most of the oxygen as well. This system works in a very short space of time and it can be used for fires of various sizes thanks in part to its effectiveness.

This system is also the one that most people are aware of as it first appears to be white, but this is merely due to the gas reacting with the air, which is warmer. However, it does become invisible and there is also no need to worry about the environment as it does not damage the ozone layer in any way.

Water Mist Fire Suppression.

This system is what most people know as the sprinkler system, but as it involves water you can understand why it is not appropriate for it to be used in areas that contain equipment. You have two options here with both a high and low pressure system and it works by creating a cooling effect as it lands on the fire. It is extremely effective, but it can also cause a lot of damage although that is clearly preferable to damage caused by smoke or a fire. This method is best used in locations such as restaurants, prisons, or places that contain chemicals.

Hypoxic Air Suppression.

For fire suppression systems there cannot be any that are as advanced as the hypoxic air system. How this works is that it will keep the oxygen level in a space below that magic 15% level that a fire needs in order to take hold. It works by removing oxygen molecules that are in tandem with nitrogen and sends them out into the atmosphere. The theory here is that, by reducing the oxygen level, it reduces the chances of a fire ever starting in the first place.

This system works around the clock and it is generally used in areas that include laboratories, rooms that contain computer servers, archive rooms, food storage areas, and rooms containing telecommunications equipment.

The Outcome.

As you can see there are a range of fire suppression systems that may be used in a commercial setting and as was stated at the beginning it is going to be in your best interest to seek the advice of a trained professional to advise you on what to do next. Forget about the cost and instead focus on your safety and the safety of others because that is something that you cannot put a price on.


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