Fire Suppression Systems – Some Common Questions to Ponder


It is often heard about a fire breaking out in residential places, factories, supermarkets, malls, schools, petrol pumps, transformers and so on. Sometimes a fire outbreak can be so dangerous that people cannot do anything but for staring at the diabolic flames consume everything. There are times when the fire brigade fails to arrive on time.

However, it is pointless to call the fire brigade if you notice a slight spark in the switch board. On the contrary, you cannot even wait for the fire to extinguish by itself. In this case, fire suppressors come handy. When the fire can be extinguished in the early stages, it reduces the risk of life loss to a great extent.

Is Water Always a Good Fire Extinguisher?

Although water has been used as the sole form of fire extinguisher down the ages, there are situations where water will combat the fire but will ruin the belongings of the room. In such cases, we need some advanced form of extinguishers to serve the purpose.

Types of Fire Suppressors:

  •    Fire sprinkler system
  •    Fire extinguisher
  •    Gaseous agents
  •    Wet and dry chemical agents
  •    Manual fire suppression system

How Does A Fire Suppressor Work

Modern day automatic fire suppressors have reduced the risk of fire outbreak. Automatic fire suppressors have been designed that start skillfully functioning as early as the detection of smoke. They use a gaseous agent instead of water to put out the fire.

During the installation of the fire extinguishers, a separate cylinder that contains clean agent is kept protected. A network of pipings and nozzles runs throughout a space. Whenever smoke or fire is detected, a signal is sent to the control unit, and the clean agent is emitted to extinguish the fire.

What Are Clean Agents

Clean agents are used in gaseous fire extinguishers. These gases are stored in cylinders and kept protected. The gas helps in suppressing the fire without the discharge of any physical matter. There is no discharge of any oily residue, which means there is no need for any clean up.

Gaseous fire extinguishers have replaced the age old method of using water to extinguish the fire because it is useful in areas like data storage rooms or places that have irreplaceable items like useful records, intellectual property, art, antiques and artifacts which can be damaged by water.

What Are the Gases Used

Gases like nitrogen, argon and carbon dioxide are used as clean agents. Apart from carbon dioxide, the gases that are used for a commercial purpose can be divided into two groups- hydrocarbon based agents and inert gas based agents. Inert gases are used in fire suppression programs because they reduce the level of oxygen, which is a supporter of combustion, around the fire.

Is It Safe to Use Gases as Extinguishers

Now the question may arise regarding the safety of using clean agents as a substitute for water which posed no threat to the human body. The United States EPA Significant New Alternatives Policy has certified the clean agents to be healthy. After all the tests done on them, it has been found out that they cause no harm to the human beings in the long run.

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