6 Main Types of Fire Suppression Systems: Which to Choose for Your Application?
February 28, 2023
When it comes to choosing the right fire suppression system to protect your business and assets, there are many factors to consider. From the type of system to the budget, and fire protection engineering services available in Canada, understanding exactly what type of fire suppression system is most beneficial for your specific application can be overwhelming.
In this blog post, we will provide an overview of the different fire suppression system types available on the market and how you can determine which one would best suit your needs in Canada.
What Is a Fire Suppression System and How Does It Work?
A fire suppression system is an integrated system of components that work together to extinguish a fire before it can cause serious damage. These systems use automatic fire suppression technology, with heat and smoke detectors triggering the release of a fire suppressant, such as foam or gas, to smother the flames.
Different fire suppression system types are available for specific applications. Each type of system requires installation by qualified professionals who understand the exact nature of your application in order to ensure proper functioning.
6 Fire Suppression System Types
Now let's talk about the different types of fire suppression systems available in Canada and how you can determine which one is best for your application.
#1. Water Sprinkler Suppression Systems
Water sprinkler suppression systems are a tried and tested form of fire protection and have been used for decades to protect facilities from fire damage. This type of fire sprinkler system utilizes water-based, pressurized nozzles that are triggered by heat sensors and activate when the temperature reaches a certain set point.
Water-based fire suppression solutions offer an effective solution for businesses or homes as they can help contain, cool, and extinguish a fire quickly and efficiently before it spreads. They are also incredibly reliable, cost-effective, easy to maintain, and simple to use. Additionally, water sprinklers operate without electricity or any other power source ensuring effective fire protection even during power outages.
#2. Pneumatic Heat Detection Systems
Pneumatic heat detection systems involve air pressure-based detectors that are triggered by changes in temperature. This suppression system is ideal for Small machinery, electrical switch cabinets and fume cupboards.
With pneumatic heat detection systems, manual intervention is not required; once the sensors detect a change in temperature, they are immediately activated and a gas suppression system can be initiated to help control and extinguish the flames. In some cases, these systems can even be linked to an alarm system that will alert facility occupants of any potential danger.
#3. Chemical Foam Suppression Systems
Chemical foam suppression systems are often used to prevent or control fires in facilities where flammable liquids are stored or used on a regular basis. This type of system uses special foam which is mixed with water, carbon dioxide, and other chemicals to create a blanket of foam that smothers and extinguishes the fire quickly.
When triggered by smoke detectors, heat sensors, or manual activation, these systems release large amounts of highly effective foam which act as an insulator so that it stays near the source of the fire longer to ensure complete extinguishing of the flames.
#4. Pressurized Gas Systems
Pressurized gas systems are an effective and efficient way to protect large buildings and facilities from fires. They use inert gases, such as nitrogen or carbon dioxide, to displace oxygen while cooling the fuel source of a fire.
This prevents the flame spread and allows high-value equipment like computers or documents to be saved after the fire is extinguished. Automated and remote-controlled pressurized gas systems are easy to install and require minimal maintenance, making them a cost-effective choice for fire suppression.
#5. Foam Deluge Systems
Foam deluge systems are an increasingly popular choice for large-scale fire protection, especially in places with flammable materials and combustible fuels. By quickly smothering the fuel source and reducing flame spread, these powerful systems are able to extinguish fires before they cause major damage or destruction.
Not only do foam deluge systems ensure maximum safety, but they also require minimal installation and maintenance costs compared to other fire suppression methods such as sprinkler systems or pressurized gas systems. With their effectiveness and affordability, foam deluge systems have become the go-to solution for fire protection needs in many commercial buildings and industrial facilities.
#6. Water Mist Systems
Water mist systems are an effective and reliable fire suppression system that is quickly becoming a popular choice for commercial buildings, industrial facilities, and other large-scale applications. The system works by creating very fine water droplets capable of cooling down the heat of a fire in mere seconds with minimal damage to the surrounding environment or property.
When Do You Need a Special Hazard Fire Suppression System?
There are some industries that will benefit more than others from installing a special hazard fire suppression system. Here are some:
- Hospitals: Fire safety and prevention are essential for the safety of patients, staff, and visitors. An automatic fire suppression system is crucial to safeguard healthcare establishments from destructive fires and save lives.
- Hotels & Restaurants: Fires in restaurants can cause extensive property damage and put the lives of their customers at risk. Installing a fire suppressant system like foam or gas, as well as other fire suppression system types are key components to ensure the safety of buildings that contain kitchens and high-risk areas such as HVAC systems.
- Manufacturing & Industrial Facilities: Fire protection is fundamental for industrial operations. With an advanced fire suppression system, you can protect employees, reduce downtime, and avoid costly repairs due to damages caused by fires in the factory environment.
- Warehouses: Fire safety measures are especially important for warehouses where goods are stored among flammable substances and materials such as cardboard, paper goods, plastic products, etc. As storage locations become increasingly more automated due to industry 4.0 technologies, it’s paramount to install a reliable gas fire suppression system coupled with sprinklers or foam systems for optimal performance in case of a serious incident.
- Retail stores: The installation of a comprehensive fire suppression system safeguards mall environments against obtrusive smoke and soot damage caused by fires. Additionally, businesses in shopping centers need to be covered by an efficient two-stage automatic fire suppression system with particular emphasis on combustible dust collection.
- Data Centers: Downtime costs businesses millions each year due to server crashes resulting from environmental events including smoke-contaminated air caused by external fires in server rooms which can harm data security unless addressed quickly by robust fuel-powered clean agents specifically designed for this application (e.g., halon 1211).
Important Factors to Consider in Fire Suppression System Design
When designing a fire suppression system, there are many critical factors to consider. But what are they specifically?
The Type of the Building
It is important to consider the type of building when planning a fire suppression system, as each building has its own unique requirements when it comes to choosing the right types of fire suppression systems.
Height of the Building
When designing an automatic fire suppression system for taller buildings, it is crucial to take into account height and any special codes or regulations that need to be met in terms of architecturally approved and certified extinguishing agents like foam fire suppression systems.
The Contents of Each Room
Fire safety measures vary based on what each room contains - from combustible dust collections and flammable substances to hazardous materials. Care should be taken to choose suitable gas suppressants, dry chemical systems, or sprinklers depending on the type of items stored in order to ensure maximum protection from fires.
Codes & Regulations to Be Met
All fire suppression system installations need to comply with local building codes and fire regulations for them to be effective and prevent tragic outcomes due to fires that could have been avoided.
Fire Codes Applicable to Fire Suppression Systems
When designing a fire protection system, it’s essential to be aware of the applicable fire codes and regulations. These codes determine which type of system is suitable for the building, and what types of fire extinguishing agents should be used.
Compliance with NFPA standards is critical for the safety of workers, customers, and visitors. This includes making sure that only qualified testers and installers are involved in servicing fire suppression systems, as well as inspecting the system on a regular basis.
Components must be checked for signs of corrosion or deterioration, and all necessary repairs must be done promptly. In addition, fire suppression systems must also be kept up to date with current technology and kept in good working order.
OSHA regulations require employers to have an appropriate fire suppressant system in place for prevention and protection from fires. The standards set out specific requirements concerning how often portable extinguishers should be recharged and inspected, the kind of signage that must be posted, the need for alarms to alert people when a fire occurs, and more.
It is important that Canadian businesses not only stay abreast of these changing regulations but also make sure their fire suppression systems comply with them at all times.
Fire suppression systems are critical components of any safety plan and must be regularly maintained and inspected to ensure that they will work properly when needed. When deciding on the right system for your business, it is important to consider the type of building, its contents, and its height, as well as applicable codes and regulations. By taking these crucial factors into account, businesses can ensure their facilities are safe and secure.
As the top fire suppression system design company, MNA Quality Consulting can help you with all of your fire protection needs. From helping to choose the right system for your building to ensuring it is compliant with applicable codes and regulations, our team of experts can help you create a comprehensive fire safety plan to protect your business and ultimately the lives of those who depend on it.
Request your fire alarm verification today!
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