Alt Title: Clean Agent Fire Suppression: The “What” and “Why”
If you own a business building, warehouse, commercial space, airport hangar, or any other large industrial space, you have to be very mindful of the risk of fire – as well as fire prevention and supression.
Clean agent fire suppression systems are one really good option.
The Four Ways to Extinguish a Fire
If you want to understand fire on a scientific level, there’s a concept known as the Fire Tetrahedron that helps explain it very well. A tetrahedron, as you may know, is basically a pyramid-like structure with four plane faces.
In this case, each of the faces represents one of the four elements required for fire to be present: (1) oxygen, (2) heat, (3) fuel, and (4) chemical reaction.
As Fire Risk Assessment Network explains, “The four elements are oxygen for sustaining combustion, enough heat for raising the material to the ignition temperature, combustible material or fuel, and a subsequent exothermic chain reaction in the material.”
If you understand that four elements are required in order for fire to be present, you’ll also realize that the key to quenching a fire is to eliminate at least one of these elements. All fires, regardless of size, location, heat, or intensity, can be extinguished using one of these four methods:
- Cooling. When you cool a fire, you limit its temperature. The faster the rate of heat lost from the burning material, the more quickly the flame dies.
- Smothering. Oxygen is such an important aspect of the chemical reaction of fire. If you remove oxygen from the equation, the fire extinguishes itself. This is why smothering the fire is so effective.
- Starving. Fire needs something to “latch onto.” Fire doesn’t exist in a vacuum – it needs a fuel source. If you remove the fuel (or potential fuel) from the fire, it dies out. (Think about the last time you sat around a campfire. As the wood disappears, so does the fire.)
- Interrupting. Another method involves inhibiting the chemical chain reaction that occurs within a fire. This can be done by applying some sort of extinguishing media that targets and interrupts the fire.
When you understand the basis for fire (and what is required to put out a fire), you can approach the process of investing in a fire suppression system with much greater intentionality.
Common Types of Fire Suppression Systems
There are several different types of fire suppression systems available. This includes common options, which you’ll see in most commercial and multifamily residential buildings, as well as more advanced options. Here’s a look at a few of them:
- Water-based fire suppression systems. This is the most common type of fire suppression system. If you’ve ever seen sprinkler heads in a hotel, office building, or apartment, it’s a water-based system. These sprinklers are connected to a water supply. When the system detects that a fire is present, it sprays a heavy mist to quench the fire. These systems typically don’t put a fire out, but they can control a fire until the fire department arrives. The obvious downside is that everything inside the building gets wet.
- Chemical foam suppression systems. In commercial kitchens and other places where there’s lots of heat and/or the presence of grease, chemical foam systems may be used. These systems are made up of piped systems and stainless steel fittings. When fire is detected, chemical foam is released and douses the fire.
- Clean agent fire suppression systems. These systems use gas instead of water to put out fires. Once heat or smoke is detected, a signal gets sent to the system and a clean agent is delivered directly to the fire. This usually happens in 10 seconds or less. The clean agent fills the room, causing the heat to be absorbed. As you’ll remember from the Fire Tetrahedron, this quenches the fire.
While there are some different fire suppression systems out there, these are the three common ones that are selected for most applications. And while water-based systems have been a staple for years, many are turning to clean agent fire suppression as a superior option.
The Benefits of Clean Agent Fire Suppression
In order to understand why so many business owners and property owners are turning to clean agent fire suppression, you must understand the benefits. Let’s take a look:
- Waterless protection. While sprinkler systems are generally effective, they cause a lot of secondary water damage. In some cases, this water damage can be just as costly as the fire damage. With a clean agent fire suppression system, you don’t have to worry about water ruining your equipment, electronics, paper files, or other property.
- Easy cleanup. Clean agent suppression systems leave no water or residue. This means there’s little-to-no clean-up required after the suppression system has been activated.
- Safety. With chemical fire suppression systems, you have to worry about the negative health side effects. But with a clean agent suppression system, there are no toxic or corrosive materials involved. This makes it totally safe for everyone involved.
- Concentrated response. Because clean agent fire suppression systems act within seconds, fire damage can typically be contained to a small footprint. This means fewer damages and less repair costs. It also prevents dreaded smoke damage to surrounding areas.
- Eco-friendly. If you run a green or eco-friendly company (or even if you’re just an eco-friendly person), you’ll be encouraged to know that clean agent fire suppression systems are totally green and have zero potential for ozone depletion.
- Less downtime. Finally, clean agent fire suppression systems mean less downtime after a fire incident. Because of all the benefits mentioned above – including a lack of water and chemicals, easy cleanup, and the concentrated response of the system – you’re able to return to normal much quicker. If you run a business, this means less lost revenue.
CeaseFire Fire Suppression Systems
At CeaseFire, we specialize in highly-effective fire suppression systems. This includes clean agent fire suppression solutions that are trusted for applications in commercial buildings, offices, warehouses, storage facilities, airport hangars, and everywhere in between. Want to get a quote for your next project? Contact us today!