What Is the Fire Suppression System and its Uses?

Posted on Apr 04, 2023

A fire suppression system is generally used in big industries and offices, which have built-in components that detect fires at the beginning stages through heat, smoke, and other warning signals. These components are attached to an alarm system that goes off when the fire has been detected and initiate steps to suppress the fire and stops it from spreading.

There are various types of fire suppression that are available today, however, it is a challenge to determine which type of fire suppression system is ideal for your facility, its critical assets, and most importantly, its occupants.

Fire suppression systems are very much different from fire sprinkler systems. Fire sprinklers use water as a medium to extinguish a fire or control a fire. Whereas fire suppression system uses suppression agents like CO2, chemical, or inert gases. These chemicals are also safe for the equipment of buildings like computers, servers, healthcare equipment, and other sensitive equipment of a building or an office.

Fire suppression systems are designed to suppress the fire and stop them from spreading further. They control the fire from dispersing chemicals at the potential site of a fire, which is detected by a heat sensor or smoke detector.

Types of Fire Suppression Systems

  • Clean Agent Based - Clean agent based fire suppression systems are the most used extinguishing medium in fire suppression systems. First, it acts fast, secondly, it is safe on human,s and third and most important that it does not damage the equipment of the building or industry.
  • Inert Gas Based – These kinds of the fire suppression system uses gases nitrogen, argon and CO2 or a combination of two or more gases. They work by reducing the oxygen level of the area to a point where combustion is unsustainable (also called Starving of Fire). These gases are also safe for humans and for the environment.
  • CO2 Based – CO2-based fire suppression system also works on the principle of starvation of fire. It reduces the oxygen level to a point where the combustion of fire is not possible.  CO2 based suppression system should only be used in an area that is generally inaccessible by humans as it harmful for them. It should be used in the localized areas only.
  • Water mist system – It is an improved version of a water sprinkler system that works by dispersing very fine droplets of water and in turn only up to less than 90% of water consumed in a regular fire sprinkler. The water mist system results in little or no collateral damage to the equipment.

Points to consider while deciding on the fire suppression system

Every type of Fire suppression system has its own pros and cons but deciding on a system should depend on the priorities and expectations of the organization.

  • Cost-Effectiveness
  • Environmental Friendliness
  • Design Flexibility
  • Downtime/Cleanup
  • Acceptance of the system

Which fire suppression systems are most effective for different uses?

Commercial Applications – Include hospitality, healthcare, schools, libraries and office buildings; places where people live, work and do business. These spaces often have multiple functions, each with their own unique fire suppression needs and priorities. For example, a health care facility may use water mist to protect rooms, common areas and backup generators, and a chemical agent like HFC-125 or HFC-227ea for server rooms, and electronic medical equipment like MRIs. Special hazard systems providers like IF&S can help determine the most effective customized solutions for these unique applications.

Industrial Applications – Include factories and machine shops; where things are made. Water mist and CO2 are most commonly used because of their cost-effectiveness and the types of hazards most commonly found in these environments. For example, water mist is most effective at suppressing Class B, liquid-based fire hazards associated with lube skids, turbine shafts, and diesel generators. CO2 is recommended for localized applications on specific machines or segments of an assembly line. Contact IF&S today for the customized solution of your fire suppression system needs

Irreplaceable Asset Applications – Include data centers, telecommunications facilities, museums, and historical sites; where critical assets are contained. For the greatest protection and preservation of irreplaceable assets, such as server-backed user information or historical artifacts, gaseous agents (chemical or inert) is ideal. IF&S has been protecting such types of places for 15 years and can recommend the best solution for your needs.