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What are Special Hazard Fire Protection Systems?

There can be a lot of information to sift through regarding fire protection in your facility. However, a vital fire protection system that many industrial facilities, data centres, and even hospitals should be aware of is a special hazard fire protection system.

This article will discuss what a special hazard fire protection system is, the types of vehicles required, and some of the special hazard agents and solutions your facility can use.

What Are Special Hazard Fire Protection Systems?

A special hazard fire protection system is any fire protection system that is designed to protect a particularly sensitive or valuable asset or that is used in an application where fire sprinklers are not appropriate.

When compared with a traditional fire sprinkler system, special hazard fire protection systems have a few specific differences:

  1. They have better fire detection capabilities and can actuate faster

  2. They use suppression agents that are safe for people and do minor damage to the assets or products.

  3. They require trained, qualified personnel for system design, service, and repair. A special hazard fire protection system is any fire protection system designed to protect the particularly sensitive or valuable property or used in applications where fire sprinklers cannot fit.

Compared with the traditional fire sprinkler system, the special hazard fire protection system has some specific differences:

  1. They have better fire detection and can activate faster

  2. They use oppressors that are harmless to humans and cause minor damage to property or building products.

  3. They require trained and qualified personnel for the system's design, maintenance, and repair.

When Do You Need a Special Hazard Fire Protection System?

While not all buildings or industries need a special fire protection system, some circumstances are necessary. In general, you need a hazardous explosion-proof design when:

  1. Your building or facility contains valuable or sensitive property. For example, data centres and art galleries are excellent examples of situations requiring special hazard fire protection systems.

  2. Your fire protection system must protect people. While fire sprinklers are suitable for most residential buildings, such as apartment buildings, hospitals require fire protection to ensure life safety, especially when there are additional hazards. As dangerous as an oxygen tank.

  3. Your installation is at a higher risk of fire. Some facilities and buildings, especially manufacturing and industrial facilities, are at greater risk of fire. In these situations, having a particularly hazardous fire protection system in the building or in the machinery that can start and extinguish the fire quickly can prevent more significant damage from occurring.

Exceptionally hazardous fire suppression systems extinguish fires quickly, using extinguishing agents that won't damage building materials and your property, and prevent severe fires from occurring in your facility.

Fire Suppression Agents Commonly Used in Special Hazard Systems

Special hazard systems are known for using fire suppression agents that mitigate damage to your facility and the assets in them. Most special hazard systems use clean agents to suppress fires without causing water damage or leaving behind a residue that can damage sensitive equipment and assets.

Some of the fire suppression agents commonly used in special hazard fire protection systems include:

  1. FM200 — A non-toxic gas that works to remove the heating element of fire. FM-200 uses heat adsorption to suppress fires without leaving a residue.

  2. 3M Novec 1230 — Often used for data centre and other electronic facility fire protection, Novec 1230 is colourless and non-toxic, suppressing fires without disrupting sensitive electronic components.

  3. Ansul INERGEN: Another famous clean agent, Ansul INERGEN, combines nitrogen, argon, and carbon dioxide to lower the oxygen content in a room. This disrupts the combustion process while still leaving enough oxygen in the room for a person to breathe. As a result, INERGEN is one of the best special hazard fire suppression agents for applications.

  4. CO2 — Carbon dioxide is another chemically inert gas that is particularly useful for safe fire suppression. Because it's non-conductive, it's also great for electronic applications. CO2 comes in both high and low-pressure tanks to suit a variety of special hazards but is best employed in unoccupied facilities.

  5. Water Mist Systems: Water mist systems are also commonly used in special hazard fire protection. They provide the same safe-for-people fire suppression qualities while mitigating the level of water damage done to assets and objects within a building.

There are several fire suppression agents designed to support critical asset protection.

Choosing the right agent will depend on your assets, your location, and your special hazard fire protection system, which is why it's always best to consult with a special hazard fire protection expert before making a decision.

4 Specialized Detection & Control Features of Special Hazard Fire Protection Systems

While fire suppression agents are essential, advanced detection and control are critical features of many special hazard fire protection systems. For applications that require high-level fire suppression to suppress fires as they start. The more quickly a fire is suppressed, the more minor damage. For that reason, many special hazard fire protection systems also employ fire prevention technologies that detect fires in the early stages. A few of the detection components available for special hazard fire protection systems include:

  1. Visual Flame Detectors: Explosion-proof visible flame detectors process live video images to sense the characteristic properties of flames. The special hazard fire protection system automatically acts when a flame is detected.

  2. Fire Detection Tubing: Fire detection tubing is typically installed in small enclosures where there is a high risk of fire or where there are mission-critical assets, like in machine enclosures. The tubing can immediately suppress the fire with a clean suppression agent when a fire is detected.

  3. Air Sampling Smoke Detectors: Air sampling smoke detectors actively draw in and monitor air quality to sense smoke. Because they are drawing in the air, rather than waiting for the smoke to pass by their sensors, they can detect fires at their earliest stages, where they can be quickly suppressed before any severe damage occurs.

  4. Digital Linear Heat Detection: Similar to fire detection tubing, linear heat detection can detect heat anywhere along the length of the system. When heat above-average operating temperatures are sensed, the system actuates to protect your building, people, and assets.

Whether you're looking for fire protection for a data centre, a manufacturing facility, or a piece of heavy machinery, it's essential to know that special hazard solutions are available to keep your people and your products safe.

Are you looking for help solving your facility's fire protection system, fire fighting system, and fire safety issues? Installation, Service & Maintenance, Upgrading & Repair? Connecting with an experienced Fire Protection Consultant at PSB Fire Engineers can help. At PSB Fire Engineers, we understand that your unique building needs unique fire protection systems. Our team is equipped to ensure you receive the fire protection you need to keep your facility and people safe from harm.

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