Fire suppression systems and fire sprinklers both attempt to accomplish the same thing, but they do it in different ways. Although parts of them have a similar appearance, the way they function is very different. Additionally, there are also different types of both fire sprinklers and fire suppression systems.
Fire sprinklers use water to put out fires, while fire suppression systems can use a variety of different substances. The circumstances for which each one would be ideal to use differ as well. If water from a sprinkler system would damage the property, a fire suppression system might be better.
Responding to a Fire
Both fire suppression systems and fire sprinklers will activate when heat or smoke is detected. Fire sprinkler systems use water to attempt to control or extinguish a fire until firefighters arrive, while fire suppression systems usually use gas, chemical, or foam agents to control the fire.
For everyday applications, fire sprinkler systems are often used to reduce property damage from a fire. However, if water would cause irreparable damage to the property, a fire suppression system would be a better option. There are also cases where a fire suppression system is the only thing that will put out a fire. It largely depends on the type of fire that is likely to occur in the building.
Types of Suppression Systems
• An FM 200 fire suppression system does not leave any residue or require cleanup. It is ideal for computer rooms, museums, and historical archives, among others.
• Carbon dioxide works quickly and efficiently and is good for dip tanks, spray booths, printing presses, and flammable liquid storage. But the gas is extremely dangerous to humans.
• Wet Chemical Fire Suppression uses foam to suppress vapors and prevent the fire from re-igniting. It is one of the best options for kitchens.
• Dry Chemical Suppression will quickly suppress flames caused by flammable liquids. It is a good option for mechanical rooms, furnace rooms, and flammable liquid storage areas.
Types of Sprinkler Systems
• A wet-pipe sprinkler is often found in hotels, offices, and high-rise buildings. It is always filled with water and ready to go.
• A dry pipe sprinkler fills with water when activated. It works well in warehouses and other unheated buildings.
• With a deluge sprinkler, the heads are always open and the pipes fill with water when they are activated. These tend to be used in high-hazard areas such as chemical storage facilities.
• Pre-action sprinklers need a supplemental fire detection system in order to activate. They work well in situations where accidental activation could cause a lot of damage – like libraries, museums and data centers.
Although they are different, fire sprinklers and fire suppression systems are designed to accomplish the same goal. Depending on the code requirements and fire hazards of your building, there should be a solution to fit your needs.