Fire Protection Systems

Fire Protection Systems – Essential for Any Building/Structure

Fire acts fast and can be catastrophic.  It can do damage within seconds.  Therefore, Fire safety measures are essential in order to safeguard lives and property. 

You can get fire insurance to protect your belongings in case your property is destroyed by fire but installing the right combination of fire safety equipments/products in your office or residence is a better option which can prevent a fire from starting or from spreading.

There are numerous active & passive fire products that help detect, put out and stop the spread of fire, smoke & fumes.  Passive fire products are fire safety devices that stop a fire and help contain it within a fire compartment of a building/structure.

Fire protection systems are complex systems that are designed scientifically to protect from fire, and the use of specific products/systems are based on a number of factors such as the building’s location, the entry-exit points,

its use, how occupied it is, the average daily footprint, the kind of equipment being used in the building and other considerations.

They are a very important part of a building’s safety plan regardless of the type of building, whether it is a hospital, a commercial building, a residence, school, factory, go down, industrial complexes, etc. 

Fire protection systems can be broadly categorized into two categories, namely, Active Fire Protection and Passive Fire Protection.

An Active Fire Protection System is used to detect and put out a fire and start to work once a fire occurs. 

Active fire protection systems include Gas & Fire detectors, water sprinklers, fire extinguishers, fire trucks, safety equipment worn & used by firefighters and other fire suppression systems. 

Different types of  fire protection systems are used based on the type of fire at hand, for example:

  • Class A Fires – These types of fires ignite from common fuel sources, like wood, trash, fabric, paper and plastics.  These fires are put out by using a water suppression system or by mono ammonium phosphate. 
  • Class B Fires – These types of fires occur from an explosion of flammable liquids or gases.  Flammable liquids include petroleum-based oils or paint, tars, alcohol, oils, solvents, gasoline and kerosene.  Flammable gases include butane and propane.  These fires are put out using Dry Chemical Powder Systems.                 Powder/Foam Fire Suppression Systems work by cutting the oxygen supply to the fuel while also cooling the fuel.
  • Class C Fires – These fires occur through electrical sources.  The first and foremost way to suppress these fires is to shut off the main electrical power source.  A fire then is put out by Water-Fire Suppression Systems.
  • Class D Fires – These fires are sparked by combustible metals such as titanium, magnesium, sodium, lithium, aluminium and potassium.  Water suppression systems cannot be used in such fires.  Dry chemical powder systems are the most effective in such fires.
  • Class K Fires – These refer to cooking fires that spark from grease, lard, olive oil, butter, animal fats and vegetable fats.  These fires are put out using chemical fire extinguishers.  

All fires use extinguishing systems using different materials, whether water or chemicals to suppress the fire. 

So, ready fire extinguishers come labelled to identify the type of fires they can put out. 

  • Foam Fire Suppression Systems – Such systems use high and low-pressure Carbon Dioxide system foam which is actually an aggregate of air-filled bubbles formed from an aqueous solution.  It works by cutting the oxygen supply to the fuel while also cooling the fuel.

In contrast,  Passive Fire Protection systems are planned while the design and construction of the building is going on.

Such systems are designed to stop a fire and prevent the spread of fire, smoke and fumes.

The aim of passive fire products is to stop the spread of fire to allow people to safely evacuate the premises and to minimize property damage. 

Because fires spread quickly, building designers (consultants & architects) create compartments and advocate the use of specific passive fire systems for each compartment based on its size, the foot traffic, the types of materials found in it, etc. 

Through compartmentation and the use of specific passive fire systems, the goal of fire stopping is possible.  

To properly fireproof a building, a combination of Active and Passive Fire Protection Systems are required to adequately be fire ready. 

This doesn’t mean that fires won’t occur but when they do, the use of active and passive fire products/systems can help put out the fire quickly and to contain the spread of fire so as to minimize the negative impacts of fire.  

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