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What are fire suppression systems?

Posted on by Conditioned Environment

For the ultimate in fire safety, automatic fire suppression systems tackle fires quickly with minimal damage to property and minimal human intervention. Conditioned Environment are proud to offer high quality fire suppression systems throughout London and beyond, and this month we will clarify the benefits a fire suppression system can yield for your business.

The Problem

Industry research shows that 43% of businesses that close due to fire never reopen. Of those that reopen for business after a fire, 80% close again within one year. There is no better example of the financial strain that commercial and industrial facilities are subjected to once a fire has consumed equipment and property.

The Solution

A fire suppression system is an engineered system that is designed to extinguish a fire at its source before the fire spreads and causes harm or significant damage. Put simply, the system is similar to a traditional fire extinguisher, but it is linked to a detection system that releases a suppressing agent once a fire is detected.

Depending on the likely cause of a fire, the suppressing agents are commonly: carbon dioxide gas, dry chemical powder, foam or water. In industry specific cases, speciality chemicals are used. For example, halon is used against fires in the aeronautical industry.  

How a Fire Suppression System Works

  1. For full room systems and micro environment systems, there is a nearby cylinder of fire suppressing agent on constant standby and ready to extinguish a fire at a moment’s notice. A series of pressurised tubes are connected to the cylinder and these are routed throughout the area that will be protected by the system – be that a small area or an entire room.
  2. When a fire ignites, the heat from the fire rises and causes the pressurised tube to burst. This activates the fire suppression system and the suppressing agent is released from the cylinder directly onto the fire.
  3. Two common systems are used to deliver the suppressing agent: direct systems and indirect systems. An engineer with expertise in fire suppression systems will be able to identify the correct system for your needs.
  4. With a direct system, the suppressing agent flows directly through the pressurised tubing onto the hottest part of the fire: hence a ‘direct’ system. With an indirect system, the bursting of the pressurised tubing causes a valve to open. This allows the suppressing agent to flow through a separate tube and through a series of fixed nozzles.
  5. The best system for each application is determined by the environment and the machinery to be protected.

Where are Fire Suppression Systems Used?

Any building that houses high power equipment or has high energy consumption should consider a fire suppression system as an indispensable failsafe. Typically, the systems are used in:

  • Commercial kitchens
  • Electronic equipment rooms
  • High value storage facilities
  • IT server rooms
  • Plant rooms
  • Switch rooms

In addition, fire suppression systems are becoming more commonplace in military and civilian transport, including:

  • Aircraft hangars
  • Buses and coaches
  • Commercial airliners (within mechanical compartments)
  • Military aircraft
  • Military combat vehicles
  • Passenger trains
  • Transport depots

Why are Fire Suppression Systems Used?

There are innumerable benefits to implementing a fire suppression system as your frontline active fire protection method. At the heart of the system is the urgency to fight a fire at its source when it is still small. This limits damage to property, but more importantly it relieves nearby personnel of any perceived obligation to interact with the fire in close quarters. Many businesses that have been protected by these systems, have noted how quickly and efficiently the fire was extinguished, and report that business operations and personnel were affected only minimally.

Overall, fire suppression systems represent the finest in fire safety practices because each system is tailored to its environment and will provide many years of reliable protection. Once activated, a suppression system will remove the need for human intervention and extinguish a fire before it becomes a serious threat to safety.

Conditioned Environment install superior fire security systems in commercial facilities throughout the Greater London area. With over 40 years of experience in the supply and installation of air conditioning units, HVAC systems, CCTV and more, our professional fit and finish can be found in buildings across the capital and beyond. If you require any services for domestic properties, we have that covered too; private or public, we bring industry leading service and products to each and every job. Contact our team today for more information about any of our services.

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