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The Purpose Of A Fire Suppression System

The purpose of fire suppression systems in is twofold; either extinguish a fire or stop the fire from spreading. Often these suppression systems are installed in conjunction with smoke and heat detectors and fire alarms, thus providing protection and safeguards for the contents of a room or building, including personnel and property. There are a number of fire suppression systems, three of which are commonly used; water, an inert gas and one of a number of different dry chemicals.

fire suppression systems – can be installed in a manner which requires intervention to activate or they can be fully automatic. The systems that use inert gas to smother the fire can also smother anyone in the vicinity so precautions and warning must be in place to evacuate any personnel in the danger zone.

Of the three common systems, water suppression is the most common. Water is used in the sprinkler system which is either a wet system or dry system. A wet system is one where the pipes are constantly pressurized and filled with water, when the sprinkler head senses the presence of fire or heat, the system will automatically activate and douse the area. The dry system is one which requires human intervention to connect the water source to the stand pipe.

In areas where water can be catastrophic, such as computer rooms or under frying hoods, an inert gas suppression system is used. Fire cannot exist without oxygen, the idea behind the inert gas system is to fill the room and starve the fire of oxygen, extinguishing it immediately. If there are sensitive documents or sophisticated electronic equipment, argon is a favorite gas to use as a suppressor. Inert gas systems are also frequently employed in industrial kitchens where water coming into contact with hot oils and grease could prove disastrous.

Although the inert gas is one of the best fire suppression systems where damage to the contents of the room must be avoided if at all possible, it is dangerous to the people working in the area. In some rare cases, the insertion of the inert gas into the room has caused asphyxiation. This is rare however, as there systems are equipped with an alarm which gives ample warning to the personnel in the room to leave immediately before the release of the oxygen starving gas. Another possibility with inert gas being released under pressure into a reasonably small volume is the potential of blowing out windows.

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