Professional fire protection systems are used for places with very sensitive equipment such as data centers, computers and transfer rooms. With sprinklers active, there is a concern that sensitive equipment may be damaged during a fire.
Conventional water sprinkler systems are the best way to prevent the spread of fire in buildings and facilities, but we must not forget that they are not designed to protect internal equipment and devices. It doesn’t matter if you have communication and communication systems, flammable liquids or a computer workshop or a data center, the possibility of damage and loss of information or operations related to these tools is very high.
Fire protection systems that have entered the market now are mainly sprinkler systems without water or with a cleaning agent. These sprinklers use liquid chemicals or light gases to deactivate the flames. With this method, the use of high-pressure water in fire suppression has been abandoned, which minimizes the damage to the interior of the building.
Gases and chemicals
Chris Jelnewicz, program director at the Society of Fire Protection and Extinguishing Engineers, says: “Professional fire suppression systems that are recognized as suitable alternatives are halocarbon compounds (consisting of carbon, bromine, Iodine, fluorine and chlorine – or neutral gases such as argon and nitrogen) are used.
Light gas systems can reduce the amount of heat generated and prevent the progress of fire by replacing the fire retardant agent or chemical substance instead of oxygen. Quick detection at the earliest time of fire occurrence is the key feature of these systems. While normal water sprinklers detect and extinguish at the same time, the fire detection of these separate clean systems is the responsibility of multiple detectors that are activated from another control panel.
When activated, the gas is discharged in 10 seconds or less along with the chemical agent. Light gas systems can last close to more than two minutes. Because smoke detectors detect a fire in the first few minutes, the time between initial detection and gas discharge is much faster than conventional sprinklers. For example, while the patient is in the MRI machine, the internal circuit card of the machine catches fire. These systems are activated within seconds (before the professionals can reach them), the fire is extinguished and the patient is saved with little fear. In this case, only the damaged circuit card should be replaced and returned to its working cycle in a very short time, instead of having to install the entire MRI system from the beginning.
Attention to the location and building
The best place to use professional sprinklers is closed spaces and environments where it is possible to control the gas level.
Rocco Logrine, senior fire and safety specialist from Kinetix Fire & Life Safety Experts, says: “Large places such as warehouses or offices are among the spaces where gas volume control is a bit difficult. In addition, wide areas such as the lobby, where gas spreads quickly, are not suitable and will not be of much use.”
He points out that: “One of the useful features of these sprinklers is that they can be easily used in renovation and improvement projects in areas such as server rooms, computer workshops or even kitchens.” Therefore, these places should be designed in such a way that it is easier for the sprinkler to detect pressure changes resulting from gas leakage. Of course, it is safer to directly use a positive pressure damper in these parts to direct the excess gas out.
Unlike sprinklers, where the range of coverage is measured and determined by square feet, clean sprinklers are determined based on the “cubic” unit.
“These systems provide three-dimensional protection,” says Thornton. Neutral gases are condensable and a large volume of them is not used during discharge. Depending on the size of the desired space, it establishes safety and performs the necessary protections. If it didn’t have this feature, you wouldn’t have enough space to store the high volume of tanks and cylinders.
The chemical agent is usually kept in liquid form between 6 and 10% depending on the volume of the space covered. You can use a chemical cylinder that has a resistance equivalent to 10 neutral gas cylinders for a similar coating.”
Login says about this: “Similar to the old sprinklers, waterless systems also need annual inspection and maintenance to ensure their performance and operational strength.”
These systems are inspected twice a year, with an in-person inspection of all fixtures and cylinders and the level of the fire retardant agent is confirmed.
Well, this is where these agents last a lifetime, so the cylinders will not be damaged and there will be no need for hydrostatic checks.
One of the problematic parts is the distance between the discovery system and the launch system, which is prone to failure.
Of course, the same problems you had with regular water sprinklers such as layout changes, leaks and blockages are also seen in these new systems.
Since these systems are more unusual and have more moving parts, their cost is certainly higher than regular water sprinklers.
Thorton says: “A price equivalent to $3 to $5 per cubic foot is an approximate cost for this type of system, and this cost is $3 to $4 per cubic foot for regular sprinklers.”
As in choosing and investing in any security system, decisions are made based on the scale and probability of vulnerability, you should follow a similar behavior in relation to these systems.
Maybe one day in your life you will need this type of system, but don’t hesitate because it will protect your equipment and property.