Fire Protection Systems

FireProtection Systems

Fireis one of the major risks that can wreck a business or lead to masslosses of lives. Therefore, necessary measures should be put in placeto avoid such losses. Different systems can be used to either preventor put out a fire. Some of them include the fire alarms, smokedetectors, and fire extinguishers among others. Each system has itsbenefits to the occupants and fire extinguishers.


Whenit comes to putting out a fire in most buildings, water is mostlyconsidered as an ideal agent that can be used to extinguish it.Sprinklers apply water directly onto the flames to cause cooling ofthe combustion process and prevent further ignition (Figueroa, 2013).A good sprinkler is supposed to detect fire while still at an earlystage and if possible initiate an alarm. Besides, it should begin toapply water onto flames the moment the flames start to appear. Thesprinklers have a series of pipes which supply them with reliablewater. They contain sprinkler heads that have valves that are heatactivated (Figueroa, 2013). Besides, an efficient sprinkler shouldhave an inbuilt alarm that can alert employees or occupants in casethere is a fire outbreak. Sprinklers are not very responsive in theincipient stage of fire. However, the sprinklers become active as thefire intensity continues to increase, especially when it reaches over135 degree Celsius. If the temperatures continuously remain high fora period not exceeding sixty seconds, then the sprinkler will releaseits seals to allow the water discharge to contain the fire. Thenumber of sprinklers that are needed varies according to the firescenarios however, less than two sprinklers are required in abuilding. Nevertheless, some situations may require up to 12sprinklers, especially when there is a flammable liquid spill.Sprinklers need a reliable source of water with enough pressure.Also, the water must be available throughout the period of firesuppression. There are various types of sprinkler systems whichinclude the water mist, water spray, water foam sprinkler, pre-actionsystem, deluge system, dry pipe system, and wet pipe system(Figueroa, 2013).

Howthe Sprinklers Work

Whena fire breaks out, the heated air always rises and it is pushed whenit reaches the ceiling. As a result, the hot air activates thesprinkler head. However, not any temperature can trigger thesprinkler’s head. The heads detect a temperature that is between135 and 165 degrees. The heads usually have a glass trigger thatcontains a glycerin liquid that expands after detecting theappropriate temperatures. The glass then breaks to activate thesprinkler heads thus discharging water to suppress the fire. When theheads are triggered, a valve that is often connected to the pipesystem opens to release water.

TheBenefits of Fire Sprinklers

Mostsprinklers have an immediate alert. This is because they are fittedwith alarms that are very helpful in notifying the occupants as wellas the emergency personnel in case of a fire outbreak. In thisregard, thousands of residents` lives have been saved, and loss ofproperties has also been minimized. Besides, the automated firesprinklers respond to fire all the time irrespective of the number ofoccupants (Schottke et al., 2014). They instantaneously control andidentify a developing fire. Also, the sprinklers help in reducingsmoke and heat damage since a significant smoke and heat will beproduced because they extinguish fire at an early stage. Moreover,the sprinklers enhance the safety of both the firefighters and theoccupants of a building. Furthermore, the sprinklers are good becausethey have improved security. That is, a fire outbreak that iscontrolled by a sprinkler requires less security thus minimizing thechances of theft as well as intrusion of privacy. Also, thesprinklers are less expensive as compared to other fire controlsystems since they have a decreased insurance expenditure. Insurancecompanies usually offer a premium that is low.


Firealarms are the most common type of fire systems that are installed inbuildings (Jaldell, 2012). The alarms usually provide a means toidentify a fire outbreak using automatic methods. As a result, thebuilding owners, occupants or employees in an office are alertedbefore the intensity of fire increases. Therefore, they will evacuateor be evacuated faster. Also, the fire alarms are also useful intransmitting the signal to the responsible departments such as thefire department as well as the emergency response department for animmediate action. In this case, the alarms help in reducing massdestruction of properties or loss of lives. Furthermore, the alarmscan be used to control or shut down any operation in the buildingthat may increase the intensity of the fire (Jaldell, 2012).Moreover, they can be employed or be connected to other fire controlsystems such as the sprinklers to initiate the suppression actions.There are three types of fire alarm systems which include theconventional, analog addressable, and addressable. The conventionalalarm system is preferred because it is easier to program and haslow costs of installation. However, it has limited capability forexpansion. The addressable alarm system is usually installed easily,its input-output programming is much more flexible, and has morespace for expansion (Jaldell, 2012). The installation of an alarm ina building is usually accompanied by a manual alarm system stationthat offers the occupants of a building with a means which they canuse to activate the alarm in case there is a developing fire in abuilding. These are devices that people pull or break when there is afire outbreak instead of screaming or shouting.

Howthe Fire Alarm System Works

Theautomatic fire-detection systems usually have a life of between 10 to15 years after which they are no longer considered to be dependable.The alarms have an FACP (fire alarm control panel) that isresponsible for making rapid decisions. The FACP activates the visualand audible devices that help in alerting the occupants to evacuate.The alarm consists of fire sensors that are located in various partsof the building and are connected to FACP using special cables. Inturn, the FACP is attached to a set of speakers that release audiblealarm to alert the occupants of a fire outbreak.

TheBenefits of Fire Alarms

Oneof the major advantages of a fire alarm is that it helps in givingearly signs of fire. Alarms release an audible sound that can warnindividuals who might be asleep. Also, the audible alert is helpfulbecause it helps in saving thousands of lives since people areevacuated immediately a fire warning is discovered. Another benefitof the fire alarm is the placement options. An alarm can be placedanywhere in a room or building. There are no specific areas that analarm should be set. However, certain areas such as near thebathrooms should be avoided since the steam from the hot shower cantrigger the alarm. Furthermore, fire alarms are beneficial becausethey can be controlled from a monitoring center through a remotecontrol. Also, alarms offer protection against fire even when thehouse occupants are not in the house.

GasExtinguishing Systems

Agas extinguishing system extinguishes a fire using gaseous agents(Ku, 2014). The agents either displace the oxygen that supportscombustion or uses other effects such as heat extraction. The systemis designed to extinguish fire fully but not to suppress it. However,the systems are used when other fire protection systems have beenineffective or could have caused a lot of damage. For example, it isrisky to install a sprinkler in a switch room, server room, orcomputers` room. These are the safest and the cleanest extinguishingsystems since they do not have an influence on the servers or otherelectrical systems (Ku, 2014). The method can be used to extinguish afire in the various areas such as the archive rooms, document safes,libraries, museums, and IT systems among others. The extinguishingagents used are the inert gasses and carbon dioxide. These gassesachieve the extinguishing effect by displacing the oxygen in the airor through the smothering effect (Ku, 2014).

Howa Gaseous Extinguishing System Works

Thesystem is connected through a piping network in a building. When heator smoke is sensed, there is a signal that is sent to the controlunit that commands the system to send gas to the hazardous zone. Thesystem is also capable of linking to the alarms to alert theoccupants or the doors to prevent the spread of fire (Schottke etal., 2014). When the clean agent reaches the burning zone, the nozzleautomatically opens, and the deflector shields direct the agent tothe fire-filled area thus suppressing the fire.

Benefitsof Gas Extinguishing Systems

Theyare clean and do not leave residual. The systems are good becausethey use gas and it does not leave any residue that would otherwisecontaminate the rooms and make the owners incur extra cost whilecleaning it (Schottke et al., 2014). Also, the agents that are usedare safe for people because they are non-toxic. In this regard, thegasses cannot cause breathing problems to both the firefighters andthe persons being evacuated from a building. Besides, the agents useddo not interfere with the vision since this can be dangerous in anemergency situation. Therefore, it will be easier for the rescuers toevacuate individuals when using the gaseous extinguishing systemsthan when using other fire extinguishing systems such as thesprinklers that can make the floor slippery. Furthermore, the systemsare environmentally friendly since they have zero ozone depletionpotential. Moreover, they eliminate the damage that could haveotherwise been caused by water if the system used involved water.Also, gasses are not electrically conductive or corrosive. Therefore,there are minimal chances of having people being electrocuted duringthe evacuation process.


Standpipessystems are pipes that are used to connect a supply of water to hoseconnections. These tubes are designed to provide the fire departmentor the occupants of a building with piped water that can be used incase of an emergency (Schottke et al., 2014). The stand-alone pipesare mostly common in large floor constructions whereby the buildingmight be away from the entrance. The standpipes are classified intothree categories namely Class I, Class II, and Class III. The Class Itype has two, and a half inches hose connections that arespecifically designed to be used by trained personnel from the firedepartment. Class II category provides pipes that are one and a halfinch also to be used by trained people from the fire stations withina distance of 130 feet. The Class III category complies with theregulations of Class I and II however, there is no limitation of theradius range within which they can be used.

Thedry standpipes are usually fixed in a building, and their intakes arelocated near a road from where the fire engine supplies the systemwith water. The wet standpipes are always filled with water that isusually under high pressure, and they are ever ready to be used incase of a fire outbreak.

Benefitsof the Standpipe Systems

Standpipescan be used with other systems of fire control. For example, thesystem can be utilized together with the sprinklers. Also, they areadvantageous since they lower the insurance costs of buildings.

DryChemical System Fire Suppression

Drychemical systems are designed to protect fire in areas that dangerousand disastrous fire could break out. These systems use an advancedtechnology that can knock down the toughest flames of liquids andgasses (Schottke et al., 2014). They are mostly used in extinguishingpetroleum and petrochemical fires. The following is an example of howthe dry chemical system is used when using sodium carbonate (NaHCO3).NaHCO3isuseful for all types of flammable gas and liquid fires as well asthose Fires that involve energized electrical equipment. NaHCO3decomposesinto sodium carbonate, carbon (IV) oxide, and water. Carbon (IV)oxide and water are the ones that help in suppressing fire.

Benefitsof Dry Chemical Systems

Themain advantage of the dry chemical fire suppression system is that itis quick to respond to fires that can threaten the lives of people.So, they can be used where fires are so advanced such that theycannot be extinguished by any other fire protection system.


Tosum up, it is important that individuals, schools, and organizationstake the necessary measures to protect themselves from the fire. Fireis usually associated with many consequences some of which arecollections damage, structural damage, loss of lives, knowledge lossthrough the books, manuscripts among others destruction, andoperations disruptions. Organizations should select a fire systemdepending on their needs.


Figueroa,M. (2013). Fire sprinklers: Protecting lives and property andassisting water conservation efforts. Journal:American Water Works Association,105(1).

Jaldell,H. (2012). Efficiencyof fire protection devices in buildings: evidence from response data(No. 6). Department of Economics, Karlstad University.

Ku,J. H. (2014). A Study on Personal Safety Improvement of the GaseousFire Extinguishing System.Journalof Korean Society of Hazard Mitigation,14(3),193-199.

Schottke,D., National Fire Protection Association., &amp InternationalAssociation of Fire Chiefs. (2014). Fundamentalsof fire fighter skills.Burlington, MA: Jones &amp Bartlett Learning.