While fire sprinkler systems are the most common type of fire protection systems for commercial buildings, electronics can pose other problems that are not appropriate for conventional systems.
Water can damage to places like control centers, power plants, and offices with computers that store essential documents and provide vital services. For buildings, with lots of electronics, clean agent fire suppression systems are a great option, as they can suppress a fire with gas that won’t cause damage to electronics.
Common Clean Agent Systems
There are several common types of clean agent fire suppression systems, all of which use gases that are safe for both humans and environment.
The FM-200 stores its fire fighting chemicals as a liquid that quickly vaporizes before it can cause damage to components. Essentially, it displaces the oxygen around a fire and primarily absorbs heat from the fire to fight it.
The Inergen system uses gases like nitrogen, argon and carbon dioxide to reduce oxygen levels around the fire. The level of carbon dioxide is not enough to be dangerous to humans. After discharge it simply dissipates.
The 3M™ Novec™ 1230 system also uses self vaporizing liquid when discharged, but this system sucks up the oxygen as its primary fire fighting method.
CO2 systems are good for buildings with low occupancy, because the levels of carbon dioxide can be lethal.
Parts to the system
There are three parts to a clean agent fire suppression system: smoke detectors, the control panel, and notification devices. The smoke detectors work as they do with other systems, The smoke detector will send a signal to the control panel, which then alerts the notification devices and activates the release device to suppress the fire. The notification devices are there to warn occupants of the fire, and alert people in the area when the clean agent is about to be released.