There are different types of fire extinguishers that can handle the suppression of different types of fires. If an extinguisher is used improperly or the wrong type of fire extinguisher is used, the fire could escalate and intensify instead of being suppressed. Additionally, fire extinguishers are to be used only when a fire is still in the beginning stage. for the common types of fire extinguishers. Complications can arise if the fire suppression material used in a fire extinguisher damages equipment or creates significant smoke, or causes other potential effects that can result in collateral damage. When implementing a fire suppression system, make certain the type of system has capability to suppress the fire without destroying the equipment in the process. The different types of fire suppression systems that you can use include water discharge systems and gas discharge systems. Here are the four main types of water discharge systems:
A wet pipe system – also known as a closed head system, and is always full of water.
- A dry pipe system contains compressed air that is released when the system is triggered, and opens a water valve that causes the pipes to fill and discharge water.
- A deluge system is another dry pipe system that uses larger pipes and therefore a significantly larger volume of water. Deluge systems are not appropriate for environments that include electronic equipment.
- A preaction system is a combination of dry pipe and wet pipe systems. The system exists as a dry pipe until the initial stages of a fire are detected and then the pipes are filled with water. The water is released only after the sprinkler head activation triggers are melted by sufficient heat. If the fire is quenched before the sprinklers are triggered, the pipes can be manually emptied and reset. Preaction systems are the most appropriate water-based system for environments that include both electronic equipment and personnel in the same locations.
Gas discharge systems tend to be more effective than water discharge systems. However, gas discharge systems are not advisable for environments where personnel are located as a gas discharge removes the oxygen from the air, making them hazardous to personnel. Gas discharge systems use a pressurized gaseous suppression medium, such as CO2 or Halon. Halon is a very efficient fire suppression compound, however, it’s damaging to the ozone as it converts to toxic gases at 900 degrees Fahrenheit. It is usually replaced by a more ecological and less toxic medium. The replacements for Halon include:
- Heptafluoropropane (HFC-227ea), also known as FM-200.
- Trifluromethane (HCFC-23), also known as FE-13.
- FE-13 molecules absorb heat, making it impossible for the air in the room to support combustion. It is considered to be one of the safest clean agents. Inergen (IG541), a combination of three different gases; nitrogen, argon, and carbon dioxide. When released, it lowers the oxygen content in a room to the point that the fire cannot be sustained.
- CEA-410 or CEA 308 NAF-S-III (HCFC Blend A)
- Aragon (IG55)
- Argonite (IG01)