Choosing A Commercial Fire Safety System: An All-In-One Guide

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It's impossible to conceive and architecturally plan a new data centre, assembly facility, or other large commercial or industrial space without first settling on a fire suppression system. Any "big room" engineering plan is going to have big fire safety needs.

As always, educating yourself is a most useful first step. Have a look at a Complete Guide to Fire Suppression System Selection here) and in the time it takes you to have a coffee you can get an overview of current suppression types, chemical agents, and systems on the market.

The document begins with the obvious—why fire suppression is an absolute must—but also presents a modern dilemma: the fact that fire suppression itself can cause nearly as much damage as a fire. This difficulty has prompted continue technological and chemical innovation in the marketplace. The Guide methodically works through the following considerations:

  • First, the four main types of fire suppression systems are described: water, chemical foam, gas (or "clean") agents, and foam deluge. You will see how clean agents have come to overtake historic water-based solutions given their ability to protect property, equipment, and data.
  • Next we consider what factors to consider when choosing one of the four. These include government regulations; space, size, and usage requirements; and the materials affected.
  • Third we provide a list of the most common gases, both organic and synthetic, that are in use in fire suppression and the relative merits of each one. Suppression efficiency, speed of deployment, and collateral effects are all important to review.
  • Lastly, we provide a brief market overview of four popular systems currently available: Kidde ECS, Kidde Argonite, Kidde CO2, Kidde ADS. Each has certain advantages depending on your space and use requirements the last of these.

If your upcoming plans include the retrofit of an existing facility then a “drop in replacement" fire suppression system is what you'll be looking for. These use the same pipe size and distribution system as the old Halon fire suppression units (no longer permitted by government regulation) and thus can be “dropped into" your plans. The Kidde ADS system, for example, was designed with just such functionality in mind.

If instead you are preparing for a whole new build and upgrade then print off and keep the eBook handy when you prepare for your first fire planning meeting. This discussion needs to happen early in the architectural and engineering process not after other material, layouts, and usage plans have been made.

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