A fire protection system is an important component of a building's safety plan, regardless of whether it's a commercial facility, hospital or educational facility. That's why passive fire protection systems have been designed to help protect the building and its occupants during a fire. Fire protection systems include fire suppression, sprinklers, smoke detectors, fire hose reels, landing valves and other fire protection equipment that works in tandem to protect against fire.
Automatic Fire Sprinkler System
An Automatic Fire Sprinkler System is a network of water-filled pipes which starts at your domestic water service line and ends with strategically spaced fire sprinkler heads located throughout your home.
Almost all newly built commercial or industrial buildings require automatic fire sprinkler systems for life safety, the protection of the property, the safety of the firefighters, and to minimize business interruption. These systems are designed and installed as prescribed in the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems or NFPA 13. In the simplest form, these systems include a series of connected pipes and fittings, with valves, alarm initiating devices, and automatic sprinklers that are supplied by a reliable water supply.
Standpipe systems are a series of pipe which connect a water supply to hose connections, basically an extension of the fire hydrant system. They are designed to provide a pre-piped water system for building occupants or the fire department.
Fire Hose Reel (FHR)System
Fire hose reel systems consist of pumps, pipes, water supply and hose reels located strategically in a building, ensuring proper coverage of water to combat a fire. The system is manually operated and activated by opening a valve enabling the water to flow into the hose that is typically 30 meters away.
A fire hydrant is a device connected to a pressurized water supply designated to supply water for firefighting during all phases of the fire. It has a column shape which emerges from below the ground level, allowing above ground connection of equipment for firefighting purposes.
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Fire Fighting Design
Planning for fire protection involves an integrated approach in which system designers need to analyze building components as a total package. In most cases, the analysis needs to go beyond basic code compliance and the owner’s minimum legal responsibilities for providing protection. Code compliance is the first objective in any design. Codes are legal minimum requirements; you have to meet the minimum with any design. While no standard fire-protection design blueprint exists for any two buildings, the systems found in any building typically include these basic components:
Modern smoke-detection systems go beyond the small device that senses smoke and triggers the alarm system. Heat detectors are another option. They can trigger alarms and notification systems before smoke even becomes a factor.
Alarms and Notification Systems
Alarm systems are a must in any facility - alarms that alert building occupants of a fire and alarms that alert emergency public responders (police and fire) through a central station link so they can initiate a response.
Many modern systems now include speakers that provide alerts in place of (or in addition to) traditional bell-type alarms. These speakers also can be used in emergencies other than fires to instruct and inform occupants of the situation.
Alert systems can also close fire doors, recall elevators, and interface and monitor the installed suppression systems, such as sprinklers. Every waterflow switch is connected to the building’s fire alarm system. The systems can also connect with a building’s ventilation, smoke-management, and stairwell-pressurization systems - all of which are critical to life safety. Again, these features are dependent on the building in which the system is installed.
Fire Suppression Systems
Automatic Sprinklers are the most widely specified suppression system in commercial facilities - particularly in occupied spaces. Each independently operating sprinkler has a heat-sensitive element inside. These elements heat up to the sprinkler’s operating temperature and activate that sprinkler head. According to the AFSA, 90 percent of all fires are controlled by six or fewer sprinkler heads. In situations where sprinklers aren’t feasible because of special considerations (e.g. water from sprinklers would damage sensitive equipment or inventory), designers might suggest an alternative fire-suppression system, such as gaseous/chemical suppression.