In today’s time and age, the options that business owners and organizations have when it comes to fire safety has significantly risen in number. There are now many different fire safety, protection, suppression, and fighting systems that they can choose from and start implement in the workplace. In addition to the more traditional smoke and fire alarms, there are also fire water mist systems that can prove to be life saving.
Type of Fire Fighting Technology – A Brief Overview
A fire water mist system is a type of fixed fire protection technology. It is comprised of several components, including those that are designed for detection, actuation, water delivery, water supply, and water atomization. When activated, it will release a spray consisting of tiny water droplets, hence; “water mist.”
There are three main goals that a water mist system should be able to achieve in order for it to be successful. These include the proper generation, distribution, and maintenance of the right concentration and amount of water droplets to ensure that those at risk during cases of fire, including properties, employees, and customers, are protected.
In the event that a fire starts, the water mist system will discharge water droplets, resulting in the removal of the heat and the displacement of oxygen present within the affected area. This then leads to the fire being suppressed, extinguished, or controlled.
Basically, the main purpose of these fire water mist systems is to reduce the temperature within the room where there is fire, lower the level of radiative heat, and decrease the concentration of oxygen in the air. These systems do so in such a way that the three elements needed to ignite fires are no longer able to support combustion.
The Main Functions of these Fire Fighting Systems Explained
The fire safety industry explains how fires are ignited through the use of the system known as “The Fire Triangle.” Here, it is shown that there are three different types of elements needed for a fire to start. The first one is air, then heat, and then fuel. If one of these elements is to be removed, it follows that the fire will be extinguished.
It is crucial to understand how fires start. Fire ignition follows the process discussed below.
- A combustible material is applied with heat, which then results in its temperature increasing and the formation of free radicals begin.
- These free radicals become airborne and bond with the oxygen present in the air. Once enough gas has formed, this blend will ignite, resulting in flames.
- As the gases continue to burn, greater heat is generated, leading to the formation of even more free radicals. If allowed to continue, flames will start spreading, causing serious damages to property, bodily injuries, severe respiratory problems, and worse, loss of life.
With this being pointed out, the main function of fire water mist systems is to suppress, extinguish, or control fires by performing the following:
- Cool not only the existing flames, but also the combustible gases present in the air through evaporation.
- Displace the oxygen present in the air by evaporation.
- Attenuate the radiant heat through the use of the mist itself.
There are basically three terms used to refer to the functions that a water mist system is designed to do. These include:
- Fire Suppression. Steadily reduce the heat release rate of the fire, which results in a reduced level of burning.
- Fire Extinguishment. Sharply reduce the heat release rate of the fire, leading to the complete elimination of fire, whether smoldering or flaming.
- Fire Control. Limit the growth of fire and protect the structure through the process of cooling the fire gases, objects within the location where the fire has started, and/or wetting the combustible materials.
Two Basic Fire Water Mist System Designs
There are basically two types of fire water mist systems available in the market today. These are the:
- Total Compartment Application System or Volume Protection System. When this type of water mist system is activated, the water mist is discharged in all directions, as it is designed to protect all of the hazards within an enclosure. These enclosures may be offices and other rooms that contain combustible materials. The most common example is an engine room.
- Local-Application Water Mist System or Object Protection System. With this type of water mist fire fighting system, the spray is directly discharged on a hazard or a combustible material. They are often used in areas that feature enclosures, but many businesses and organizations also utilize them for outdoor applications and for protecting unenclosed objects.
Top Reasons to Consider Water Mist Fire Protection Technologies
There are several good reasons for businesses and organizations to install fire water mist systems in their establishments aside from the more conventional fire alarms and detectors. Some of the benefits that can be reaped from the use of these fire fighting technologies are the following:
- Seat of fire is more efficiently and effectively penetrated.
- More protection coverage of the area where the systems are installed.
- Considerably reduced water consumption.
- Significantly lower system weight.
- Designed to perform functions (suppression, extinguishment, and control) that traditional fire fighting equipment cannot otherwise do.
Features Needed for these Systems to be Effective
When choosing a water mist system, it is a must that businesses and organizations know which features to look for. There are several characteristics that a system needs in order for it to be effective in suppressing, extinguishing, and controlling fires. Some of these are directly related to the water mist or spray discharged by the system, including:
- Droplet size distribution
- Density of flux
- Dynamics of the water spray
Advantages over Traditional Fire Fighting Equipment
If compared with traditional sprinkler systems and other gas-using fire fighting equipment, water mist systems have been found to be more advantageous in terms of them displaying the following attributes:
- System activation is quicker.
- More effective in suppressing various types of fire.
- Water damage is minimized.
Ensuring the safety and well-being of a building’s or an establishment’s occupants should be a top priority of businesses and organizations, something that can be achieved with the installation of high quality fire water mist systems.
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