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Importance of fire protection systems

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Safeguarding your environment from fire outbreaks and consequent damage should be one of your concerns as a home or business owner. This is because fire incidents can spread quickly, damaging property, and equipment and costing human lives. While you may be unable to prevent all possible causes of a fire, you can limit the damage done to your building should a fire incident.

Compliance
Figure 1: Automatic fire protection system.

Fire protection systems

Provide an avenue for business owners to reduce the impairment done to the facility, work kit, and critical documents. In addition, by detecting and giving a timely response to fire, these defense systems help to protect the occupants of an installation and the equipment within. This consequently helps to save costs and relieve the influence of a fire happening on your business processes.

As the name suggests, fire protection systems (FPS) are designed to notice a fire and protect the human and machinery inside a building in such chances. Thus, they serve as the first line of reaction during fire hazards.

Although fire protection systems are of different types, their primary function is to secure lives and property from fire damage. In addition, fire protection systems function to give tenants enough time to evacuate and allow firefighters an opportunity to recover the building from total deterioration.

There are two categories of FPS, namely passive and active systems. Passive fire protection systems are parts of a building’s structure designed to limit the reach of a fire. This may contain compartmentalized fire doors, walls, and whole walls. These structures absorb rather than conduct heat and remain tensile in high temperatures, thereby decreasing the potential damage of the fire.

On the other hand, active fire protection systems are built to combat fires. Examples of active fire protection systems include fire alarms and sprinklers. Fire alarms help notify a building’s occupants of a fire incident, starting evacuation and emergency retorts. Fire sprinklers are activated by smoke or a predetermined high temperature. Once triggered, the system sprinkles water to stop and decline the spread of the fire.

Most residential buildings have installed sprinkler systems, while industrial structures combine active and passive fire protectionsystems. Due to the popularity of sprinklers, this article will focus on the types and volume of using them and other fire protection tools.

Types of sprinklers

When purchasing or installing sprinklers, a resort must be made to the building structure, residential or retail status, and the potential levels of fire hazard happening. With that out of the way, here are the four major types of sprinklers.

1.Wet pipe sprinklers

These are the most common variant of sprinklers due to their affordability. They operate off heat sensors that signal the nearest sprinkler head and release the water stored in the pipes. Sprinkler heads are activated by heat signals only, meaning only those close to the point of the fire get triggered to prevent flooding in cases of false alarms. Wet pipe sprinklers require low maintenance and are ideal for homes, schools, and offices.

2.Dry pipe sprinklers

Dry pipe sprinklers function also as their wet pipe image. The only difference is that dry pipes are filled with nitrogen and only get loaded with water during a fire. They are mostly used in areas with an arctic climate to control water from freezing up in the pipes. However, dry pipe sprinklers are more costly to install.

3.Pre-action sprinkler system

This sprinkler system is more developed than the formerly noted variants. It operates on a two-factor system that serves the pipes with water upon sensing a predetermined heat level. The final stage of activation occurs in the independent activation of sprinkler heads. The goal of this two-band system is to allow manual overrides where the fire alarm is false. This type of sprinkler is commonly used in libraries, data centers, and museums where water discharge may cause untold harm.

4.Deluge sprinklers

Unlike the other variants, the deluge sprinkler doesn’t come with a heat sensor; rather, it depends on an external smoke signal to activate. It also has an open sprinkler head, allowing the simultaneous escape of water once the pipes reach supplied with water. This type of sprinkler system is used to fight large fires available in factories working with flammable liquids.

Importance of maintenance of fire protection systems

Sprinkler systems are extremely reliable, such that the chance of dying in a fire is reduced by one-half to three-fourths when sprinklers are installed in a building. Statistics also show that property damage is reduced by half to two-thirds when sprinklers are present. All of this is true, of course, only if the system has been designed, installed, and supported properly. It has been seen that in 59% of incidents in which sprinklers forgot to operate, the system had been shut off. This is a reason why the Maintenance (ITM) of water-based fire protection systems is so crucial.

NFPA 25, Standard for the Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems is the baseline for the maintenance of water[1]based fire protection systems. The purpose of NFPA 25 is to provide requirements that provide a reasonable degree of protection for life and property from fire through minimum maintenance methods for water-based fire protection systems.

Engr. Faruk Hossain (Sajan), Sr. Engineer – Compliance BD Ltd.
Figure 2: Engr. Faruk Hossain (Sajan), Sr. Engineer, Compliance BD Ltd.

Care and maintenance contain more than the inspection and testing of system components. For effective protection, an evaluation of the factors that affect the system version should be made. These factors include such items as the following:

  • Occupancy changes · Process or material changes
  • Building modifications such as relocated partitions or ceilings or the addition of mezzanines
  • Transformations to the heating system revealing systems to probable freezing.

Benefits of using fire protection systems

1.Fire protection systems help to suppress the spread of the fire. Thereby allowing employees or occupants in a building to evacuate.

2.Fire protection systems also safeguard lives and property and reduce the damage done to work equipment.

3.An effective combination of passive and active fire protection systems significantly reduces the potential damage your home or business could suffer from a fire incident.

Fire protection systems are cost-effective, helping you save funds that could have been spent replacing equipment or renovating.

When establishing fire protection systems, it is advisable to conduct a Fire Hazard Analysis (FHA) on your building. This specifies the potential fire risks fitting to you and your employees and the most useful way to limit them. Other suitable factors include the nature of the building and your desired FPS add-ons – such as telling emergency services.

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