Fire Suppression Systems

Fire Suppression Systems

Fire Suppression Systems

Fire Suppression Systems

Overview

In the event of a fire situation within your premises or plant area, effective control (suppression) and extinguishing systems are required to prevent lasting damage or to reduce the risk of injury to personnel.

Fire suppression systems are available that utilise a wide variety of suppression products including water, foam, chemical agents, and inert gases. Each specific medium has its own advantages and target applications and our engineers can advise you on the correct choice for your specific demands. Considerations such as the material likely to burn, whether the fire is expected to be within an enclosed or open space, and whether this space is normally occupied or un-occupied will be applied during the review process to determine the correct choice of fire suppression systems.

For a fire to survive, it relies on the presence of the four elements of the fire tetrahedron; oxygen, heat, fuel and the chemical reaction that is combustion. The removal of any one of these elements can suppress or extinguish a fire.

 

Suppression systems generally target one, or in some cases, two of these elements to ensure effective fire suppression.

Control Panels for Extinguishant System control, approved to EN12094-1, EN54-2 and EN54-4 are detailed in the Fire Detection section of this website.

A key decision, when determining the most appropriate fire suppression system for your application, is to consider the potential side effects resulting from the residue of the fire suppression medium, following a discharge. Some applications have more of a potential environmental impact than others. For example, Halocarbons gases have a higher Global Warming Potential than Inert gases.

 

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Gas

Gas

Gaseous suppression systems provide a clean, effective, and environmentally considerate option for fire suppression. There are a number of different types of gaseous suppression systems available, each with its own benefits and specific applications.

As stated in the paragraph above, suppression systems generally work on removing one, or two, elements from the fire tetrahedron.

Gaseous suppression system may be summarised as inert gas systems, halocarbon gas systems, carbon dioxide systems and hypoxic systems.

- Inert gas systems remove Oxygen from the fire
- Halocarbon gas systems prevent the chemical reaction of combustion occurring

- Carbon Dioxide removes Oxygen from the fire
- Hypoxic systems remove Oxygen from the protected space to prevent combustion occurring

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Foam

Foam

Fire fighting foam is an effective fire suppression medium and is used extensively where hydrocarbon fuels may be at risk of fire. This includes both the large scale storage of hydrocarbons in tank farms and where the refined petroleum products are regularly used.

The expansion capabilities of foam allow it to be used where large areas need to be covered in a short space of time.

Fire fighting foam, when applied to a burning liquid, provides a blanket over the fire that prevents oxygen maintaining combustion and gradually smothers the fire. A number of different foam types exist and are targeted toward specific flammable products, some being resistant to alcohols, other having better thermal insulation properties. Fire fighting foams are generally applied via fixed foam pourers or foam monitors. Typical applications include Hydrocarbon fuel storage, flammable liquid storage, aircraft hanger protection within storage hangars.

Water

Water

Watermist systems are based upon the ability of small water droplets (measured in microns) to suppress or control a fire extremely efficiently, since a Watermist system simultaneously cools a fire and reduces the available oxygen to prevent combustion occurring.

Watermist systems are designed to force water through specially designed nozzles (with options for Low and High pressure systems) that create a “mist” of tiny water droplets.

Whilst the water droplets themselves are incredibly small their combined, effective surface area is greater than an equivalent discharge from a, for example, traditional sprinkler system, and this increased surface area is very effective at cooling the fire. The water “mist” also provides a secondary effect of Oxygen displacement that reduces the combustion capability of the flames.

Watermist systems can be installed, and used, in areas that are normally manned. As the suppression medium is water, there are no harmful effects to personnel in the event of a discharge. Typical applications include data centre protection, gas turbines, machinery spaces.

How we can help

Frontline Safety can provide experienced input at any stage of the project. From the early stages of the project at Risk Assessment stage or a site survey to establish the design basis for the fire and gas system, through to the design and implementation of a bespoke fire and gas detection system.

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Our dedicated team of Service and Project Engineers have a range of expertise and knowledge and are on hand to discuss your fixed fire and gas detection needs.  Call now on 0141 771 7749 or visit our Contact Us section on the website for more information.

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