Whenever you run a business there is a lot to learn – not just about your industry but about all the support systems that allow you to operate legally and safely. From insurance to legal-speak to safety codes, there’s a lot to take in and understand. When it comes to fire safety, it’s no different.
Don’t worry though, we’re here to help drill down some of the lingoes you should know and be aware of so that your workspace is safe and that you know what needs to be done and why it needs to be done. Here are four basic terms you should know when it comes to your businesses’ fire safety.
NFPA stands for National Fire Protection Association. and they are responsible for issuing industry standards for safety.
The major codes for fire protection are:
NFPA 10 (fire extinguishers)
NFPA 25 (sprinkler systems)
NFPA 72 (alarm system)
You don’t need to know these codes inside and out, but when you hear them brought up by an inspector or fire safety professional, that’s what they’re talking about.
Wet and Dry Pipe
Whenever you’re going to install or upgrade a sprinkler system, there are two main types of sprinklers – wet and dry pipes. They make up basically all of the sprinkler systems you’d see in a run of the mill commercial space.
Wet pipe systems are the most common and they draw off the water supply to spray water and the pressure at which the water is distributed is what will put out a fire. The pipes are like any water pipe – they’re always full of water and with that comes some good and some bad. If the pipes burst, you’ll have a water problem so, like any plumbing asset, it’s a good idea to make sure they’re inspected regularly.
Dry pipes draw off a water source that’s hooked up right next to the sprinkler valve. Those pipes aren’t full of water; instead, they’re full of compressed air. When the sprinkler head pops, the airflow opens up in the valve and out comes the water. If you work in a building with little heat, this is the type of system you’ll be most likely to encounter. You see a lot of them in parking garages and the like – and they basically exist to make sure that the pipes won’t burst in the cold temperature.
Clean Agents is a fancy term to describe chemical suppression systems. Chemical suppression is used in places where you don’t want water to do a number on anything that might get destroyed by water. People use these in data centers, museums, or anyplace where there’s water-sensitive equipment.
Backflow is basically what happens when a liquid, gas or solid back up into a water supply and contaminate your water. These are commonly used in wet pipe configurations so that bad stuff doesn’t get into the water. After all – a leaky pipe or fire is bad enough – you don’t need any other potential hazards contaminating your space in addition to all that!
If you have any questions about today’s topic or any other fire protection topic, please contact Protegis Fire & Safety. We will be happy to help.
If you’re a general contractor, and your job is to provide fire protection to valuable equipment such as data centers, computer servers and computer rooms, then this post will help you understand why there is no definite price per square foot for a clean agent fire protection system.
First, we need to
understand how a clean agent system works, and how this will throw a wrench
into how much the system will cost.
Fire needs three elements to burn: heat, fuel and oxygen. By removing any one of these, the fire will not burn.
So, once a computer room starts sending signals of a fire (usually from smoke), the smoke detector will signal an alert for the clean agent system to start releasing its gas, which will eliminate the oxygen the fire needs to burn. The reason a computer room would use a clean agent system as opposed to a water-based system, is that water will damage the electronics.
So now the question
is, how much clean agent will I need for the system to work? And how much will
How much clean agent will you need?
Very different than a fire sprinkler system, where all you worry about is how much floor space you need to cover, the amount of clean agent you will need is determined by volume, not by area. But just because your computer room is 20×20 ft., doesn’t mean you need enough clean agent for 400 sq. ft.
There are plenty of variables that will determine the price of your clean agent system.
What variables will determine the price for a clean agent system?
If there is a
sub-floor, the height is added to room in factoring the total volume for agent
calculation. Additional detection devices are installed in the subfloor,
typically matching the ceiling layout.
2) Ceiling Void
If there’s a space
above a ceiling void being used as a return air path (without duct work),
additional agent and detection are required.
The number of doors
affects the area because you must account for additional manual pull stations
and abort switches, which not only includes cost in equipment, but also cost in
labor for installation.
Are dampers controlled
off of releasing panels with relays? If so, dampers must close shut at
discharge to maintain the integrity of the agent per volume.
5) Ceiling Height
This dimension is part
of the overall volume calculation. If the ceiling height increases, more
agent is needed. If it decreases, you may be over concentrating from your
One of the most asked questions our special hazard technicians get is “how much per square foot is a clean agent system?” After this post, I hope it’s clear there is no definite price per foot for a clean agent fire protection system. There are just too many variables that can apply.
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