What is a fire suppression system?

A fire suppression system is an integral part of any fire protection system. The terminology fire suppression relates to a system or group of systems designed to impede the progression of a fire and ultimately put it out.

Different types of fires require different suppression systems, including water, foam or chemical compounds. In this article, we will look at the different types of fire suppression systems available, what the benefits are and how you can ensure your business complies with Ireland’s fire safety standards.

How Does a Fire Suppression System Work?

A fire suppression system is designed to automatically detect and extinguish fires before they have a chance to spread. It typically consists of heat and smoke detectors connected to a control panel. When the detectors sense a fire, they trigger alarms to alert people to evacuate while simultaneously activating the suppression system.

The suppression system then releases a specialised agent, like water, foam, or gas, to put out the fire. The agent disrupts the chemical reaction of combustion by removing heat, oxygen, or fuel from the fire triangle. This stops the fire in its tracks before major damage can occur.

Suppression systems act faster than waiting for firefighters to arrive on the scene. They also help minimise property damage, loss of inventory, and disruption to operations that a fire can cause.

What is the Difference Between a Fire Sprinkler and a Suppression System?

While both are automatic systems triggered by detectors, there are some key differences:

  • Suppression systems use agents besides just water, like foam and gas, that may be better suited for certain fire types.
  • Sprinkler systems are more widespread, covering entire buildings. Suppression systems target specific high-risk areas like kitchens or server rooms.
  • Suppression systems discharge faster, in seconds rather than minutes, for a quick-fire knockdown.

So in summary, suppression systems provide specialised, fast-acting fire protection for targeted locations.

Why Use an Automatic Suppression System?

Automatic systems provide round-the-clock fire monitoring without relying on human intervention. This rapid, unmanned response is critical for:

  • Reaching fires in remote areas
  • Protecting valuable equipment and inventory that water could damage
  • Stopping fires before they spread in hazardous industrial settings
  • Avoiding disruption to operations and supply chains

Automated systems also qualify businesses for lower insurance premiums in many cases.

When is a Suppression System Required?

There are no universal mandates for installing suppression systems; requirements vary by location, building size, occupancy type, and so on. Commercial kitchens often need specialised systems, for example. Facilities with significant fire hazards may also need systems to comply with fire codes and insurance requirements.

The best way to determine if you need a system is to have a fire risk assessment performed by experts. They can evaluate your operations and recommend the ideal fire protection solutions.

What Are the Different Types of Fire Suppression?

There are several suppression system types and agents to suit different fire risks:

Gas Systems

Gas agents like FM200 rapidly flood protected areas to suppress fires in seconds without damaging electronics or leaving residue. Ideal for server rooms and control panels.

Wet Chemical Foam Systems

Emit a spray of water and foam beneath cooking appliances to quickly smother flaming oils and grease. Designed for commercial kitchens.

Water Mist Systems

Generate a fine water mist to control fires without excessive water usage or damage. Good for spaces where minimal liquid is desired.

Foam Deluge Systems

Blanket flammable liquids like industrial oils with thick foam to cut off the oxygen supply and prevent ignition. Critical for manufacturing and chemical plants.

Pneumatic Heat Detection Tubes

Compact tubes that discharge suppression agents when they reach a certain temperature. Help protect confined spaces like cabinets and vehicles.

Which Industries Commonly Use Suppression Systems?

  • Industrial facilities handle flammable materials and an interruption could cripple supply chains.
  • Warehouses and storage contain high quantities of combustibles in close proximity.
  • Data centres and IT rooms have electronics extremely sensitive to fire and heat.

Passive Fire Protection in Dublin

At Firestoppers, we offer both active fire suppression systems and passive fire protection services to keep Dublin businesses safe. Operations director Garrett Nolan says:

“We take a comprehensive approach to fire safety, combining suppression systems with top-notch containment. Compartmentation and fire-rated construction ensure fires stay isolated in the area where they originated. This integrated protection is the best way we can serve our community and prevent the spread of fire.”

To learn more about protecting your Dublin property, contact the passionate Firestoppers team today for a consultation. We’re always happy to answer questions and provide fire safety advice to local business owners.

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