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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Investing in a Commercial Fire Suppression System

4/26/2022 (Permalink)

Fire suppression systems can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they are all designed for the same task. Quickly extinguishing a fire is essential to protect and save lives and property. Whereas most homes are equipped only with a smoke alarm, commercial fire protection involves much, much more. The method of fire detection and suppression will differ in each building, so it is important to learn about the types available.

To get started, you should know that there are two categories of fire alarms: automatic fire alarms and manual fire alarms. Every commercial building is required to have at least one fire alarm. An automatic fire alarm works when it detects heat or smoke, and once it does it will send an alert throughout the building to warn those inside. The typical manual fire alarm is the pull station on the wall, where the alarm requires an employee to pull the lever in order to alert the occupants. 

Buildings can be equipped with both automatic and manual fire alarms, but the types of suppression systems might vary. One of the most common systems is the commercial fire sprinkler system, which controls and extinguishes flames rapidly by discharging water when the fire’s heat is detected. These are found in commercial buildings like grocery stores, restaurants, retail chains, and distribution centers. 

There are a couple different types of sprinkler system, each with a slightly different function, but a similar purpose. A wet-pipe sprinkler system holds water constantly and is ready to spray at any time. Dry powder systems will fill with water only when the system is activated. Deluge systems keep the heads open at all times and will fill with water when activated. Pre-action systems require a supplemental fire detection system to avoid accidental discharge.

However, water and sprinkler systems may not always be the best option. Sprinkler systems should not be used where water cannot put out a fire, like in kitchens, or when water might cause irreparable damage to the building’s contents, like computer rooms or file storage. These areas need a non-water-based system.

Commercial fire suppression systems will suffocate a fire by using chemical, gaseous or foam agents, rather than using water. These systems typically cause minimal damage to expensive equipment, and will even stop chemical-based or grease fires quickly.  

To determine whether your commercial buildings need a sprinkler system or a fire suppression system, you need to know what it is inside your building and if a sprinkler system could be harmful in its own way. If you need to be able to protect computers, expensive equipment, important files, or irreplaceable items, it would be wise to install a fire suppression system over a sprinkler system. 

Regardless of the type of fire suppression system you choose for your commercial building, know that it is better than nothing at all. Commercial fire suppression systems are important to not only protect your property, but to also save lives.

For more information on commercial fire suppression systems, call SERVPRO of South and Northwest Grand Rapids today at (616) 662-9700. Our specialties include fire, water, and storm damage restoration for residential and commercial clients. We also do mold and mildew remediation and much more.

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