Types of Sprinkler Systems: Choosing the Right Fire Safety System for Your Healthcare Premises

Fire sprinkler systems are the first line of defense in protecting medical centres. Amazingly, these systems are able to control over 90% of fire. That’s enough reason to install sprinkler systems in healthcare premises.

 

The first step in doing so is to identify the different types of sprinkler systems. You might be thinking that there is only one type of fire fighting system for medical centres that works in all situations and all areas, but that’s not the case. Temperature, chemical presence, and interior heating systems are a few of the factors that affect your choice.

 

Types of Sprinkler Systems

 

Wet systems

 

Fire Sprinkler
Photo Credit: Brandon Leon

 

This is the most common type of sprinkler system, which is also used in office buildings, retail establishments, and climate controlled warehouses. The name speaks for itself; the wet system constantly has water running in the sprinkler piping. Most of the workplaces use this because of its fast reaction time. It works through enabling a heat-detecting glass bulb on the sprinkler head to break instantly once a fire is detected. Though efficient, these systems are only recommended in areas with a steady temperature above freezing level to prevent water from solidifying. As a result of disregarding caution, some buildings have resulted to leaking pipes due to the freezing and expanding of water.

 

Most of the workplaces use this because of its fast reaction time. It works through enabling a heat-detecting glass bulb on the sprinkler head to break instantly once a fire is detected. Though efficient, these systems are only recommended in areas with a steady temperature above freezing level to prevent water from solidifying. As a result of disregarding caution, some buildings have resulted to leaking pipes due to the freezing and expanding of water.

 

Dry systems

 

Dry Pipe Sprinkler & Piping
Image Credit: Thomas-FPE

 

Opposite the wet system is the dry pipe system for unheated buildings with a freezing environment. The dry pipe system works by holding in the pressurized air throughout the system. When a fire breaks out, the heat-detecting glass bulb bursts and releases all pressurized air before the water passes through. It is best to install these fire sprinklers in concealed spaces to prevent outdoor temperatures from controlling the water temperature stored.

Deluge systems

 

deluge system
Photo Credit: FEMoranSHS

Hazardous places usually have this type of system. Using open sprinkler heads, all the sprinklers in the system discharges water immediately flooding the flaming hazard. The deluge system is necessary for areas where potential flammable chemicals and substances can cause the rapid spread of fire. A lot of these substances are usually gas and oil around labs or kitchens. The system does not have a temperature-sensitive glass bulb to release water as it functions as a rapid response system.

 

Pre-action systems

 

Pre-action Sprinkler Distribution System
Photo Credit: 1&1 Internet, Inc.

 

These are a combination of wet, dry and deluge systems. Used for places with valuable and highly protected materials, this system works especially for preventing accidental activation. In this case, a double interlock system is integrated for a simultaneous activation of the fire detector by opening the pre-action valve, allowing the water to flow into the piping system. Activating the sprinkler will disperse water all throughout the sprinkler systems just as the deluge system works. Both detector and sprinkler work simultaneously for the activation of the protected area.  In its dormancy, the piping system is filled with air similar to the dry system.

 

Sprinkler testing

 

Along with the installation, it is mandatory to have sprinkler testing. How does it work? The process involves the necessary system receptors that trigger the flame suppressor to flow. In accordance with Australian Standard 2118.1, pressure testing all pipework is done to the greater of 1400 kPa or 400 kPa about the maximum static working pressure for two hours. Before pipework is concealed, a test should be performed with all the piping reports recorded in the operating and maintenance manuals.

 

Practicing fire safety doesn’t stop at installing the necessary sprinkler systems. Healthcare facilities should have an ongoing maintenance check as well as proper fire safety training. Given these obligations, you can always rely on FCF Fire & Electrical Brisbane for the best advice on your premises.

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