Why Do We Need Special Hazard Fire Suppression Systems?

March 20 2017

Why Do We Need Special Hazard Fire Suppression Systems?

It is well-known that manufacturing and industrial facilities are considered dangerous work environments. There are rigorous safety regulations in place to protect workers and infrastructure, and the materials and machinery being handled often require extra caution.

With these added safety hazards, it’s no wonder that the risk of fire also increases. The leading causes of fires at industrial and manufacturing properties are heating equipment, shop tools and industrial equipment. But traditional water based fire suppression systems are often either not up to the task of suppressing these types of fires, or they risk causing more harm than good.

Here are three ways special hazard fire suppression systems create safer, more prepared industrial and manufacturing facilities:

1. Protecting Valuable Equipment

‘Downtime’ is a word that can make any company leader anxious. Downtime means loss in revenue—and, if the downtime is the result of a fire, it can also mean costly equipment repairs or replacements that many companies can scarcely afford.

This valuable equipment, while it needs to be protected from fire, may also be sensitive to traditional water based fire suppression systems. That’s where systems for special hazards come in.

Special hazard fire suppression systems can be specifically designed to protect your critical production equipment, electrical enclosures, and hazardous storage areas in an effective way that is still safe for your high-value equipment.

Special hazard fire protection needs to be thought of at the machine level as well as at the cabinet level. Certain equipment carries inherent fire risk—switch gear, production equipment, CNC machines, telecommunications equipment, etc. In order to effectively protect the equipment and the facility itself, automatic fire suppression must be targeted to the specific areas where the machines operate.

Similarly, fire protection needs to be considered for enclosed spaces that may contain fire risks—micro-equipment enclosures, hazardous material storage cabinets, automated storage carousels, etc.

Without targeted fire suppression systems for these special hazards, your critical business assets could be putting your entire facility at risk for costly fire damage.

2. Raising the Standards of Protection

Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that because their buildings are up to code, it means they’re fully protected from fire.

What most people don’t realize is that these codes are put in place to get building occupants out safely before conditions become hazardous—not necessarily to protect the facility itself from fire. The codes usually address whether or not a fire suppression system is required, but don’t specify the adequacy or quality of the systems related to specific hazards, production equipment or business assets.

By outfitting your industrial or manufacturing facility with the minimum requirements for water based fire suppression, you may be following the codes—but are you truly protecting your business? Special hazard fire suppression systems raise the bar for loss prevention in facilities.

3. Delivering a faster, more effective response

Because of the specific hazards in industrial environments, fire suppression tactics need to be more individualized to meet those challenges. For example, in process areas applying or handling flammable liquids, systems that include fast responding detection systems to ensure rapid reaction to fire are critical. System agents best suited for rapid flame extinguishment are ones that that limit production interruption while providing any needed equipment shutdown interfaces. These systems offer many advantages over conventional water-based systems that only provide generalized compliance-level protection.

In industrial and manufacturing environments, each hazard type needs to be assessed individually to select the correct agent, delivery, and detection method to create a suppression system that provides true protection. In order to determine your exact fire hazards and the equipment required to effectively protect against them, request a hazard risk assessment today.

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