Fire sprinkler and fire suppression systems share a common purpose. Parts of their systems may look similar, but fire sprinkler and suppression systems are very different in the way they extinguish or control fires and their applications. There are even several types of fire sprinkler and suppression systems.
The main differences between a fire sprinkler and fire suppression systems are how they extinguish fires and when each system would be ideal to use. Fire sprinklers use water to extinguish and control fires, while fire suppression systems can use a number of different agents. It is important to determine if water from fire sprinklers will cause additional damage to the property before deciding on using a sprinkler or suppression system.
Extinguishing a Fire
When fire sprinkler and fire suppression systems detect heat, smoke, or both they activate. Fire sprinkler systems use water to extinguish or control flames and minimize the spread of a fire until firefighters arrive. Whereas the most common fire suppression systems use chemical, gaseous or foam agents to suppress a fire.
Fire Sprinkler and Fire Suppression Applications
Fire sprinkler systems are ideal for everyday applications and to reduce property damage caused by a fire. When water can contain the specific type of fire facilities use fire sprinklers. In certain instances, a fire suppression system is the only option to extinguish a fire. It’s also a viable option in cases where water would cause irreparable damage to the property its intended to protect.
Common Types of Suppression Systems and Applications
FM 200 Fire Suppression
- Requires no cleanup, leaves no residue
- Ideal for computer rooms, museums, historical archives, and many other applications
- Work quickly, efficiently, gaseous agent extremely dangerous to humans
- Printing presses, spray booths, flammable liquid storage, and dip tanks
Wet Chemical Fire Suppression
- Forms vapor suppression foam, effectively preventing re-ignition
- Ideal for kitchen applications
Dry Chemical Suppression
- Work quickly to extinguish flames caused by flammable and combustible liquids
- Mechanical rooms, furnace rooms, flammable liquid storage areas
Types of Fire Sprinkler Systems and Applications
Wet Pipe Sprinkler
- Always filled with water and ready to go
- Commonly found in office buildings, hotels, and high-rise buildings
Dry Pipe Sprinkler
- Fill with water when the system activates
- Ideal for unheated buildings such as warehouses
- Sprinkler heads always open, pipes fill with water when activated
- Used in areas of high hazard such as aircraft hangars and chemical storage facilities
- Requires activation of supplemental fire detection system
- Ideal in situations where accidental activation could cause a large amount of damage such as in libraries, data centers, museums etc.
Despite their differences, both fire sprinkler and fire suppression system’s purpose is to control or extinguish a fire. Based on the type of fire hazard and code requirements there’s a fire sprinkler or fire suppression system solution to fit your facility’s needs.