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deluge sprinkler system fire protection tubes

By Becca Jones

Deluge vs. Pre Action Sprinkler Systems

April Showers Bring May Flowers- and also Building Protection

As they say, April showers bring May flowers, we just hope those showers stay on the outside of your building. However, if you happen to need your indoor showers (sprinkler systems and fire suppression systems) it’s best to understand what systems serve your specific building’s needs. Deluge vs. Pre Action Sprinkler Systems—what’s the difference? —–When it comes to fire protection for your building there are many options to consider, and it’s important to understand what these options may entail. 

Deluge Systems 

What is a Deluge system?

Deluge suppression systems are typically used in special hazard installations when water must be applied to an entire area for fire protection. These systems are considered a ‘dry fire protection system’ as the piping for the system is empty and at an atmospheric pressure with the sprinkler heads all open. When heat or fire is detected by the system, the deluge valve releases the water, dry chemicals, inert gases, or foam. 

The type of agent used in the systems is dependent on the hazard type and location of the fire protection system. Once filled, it releases from all sprinkler heads simultaneously, which helps to blanket the entire area, which, in turn, controls the fire. 

These systems are typically used for facilities where an entire area needs to be protected immediately, rather than by a zone or specific location of the source of the heat or fire. Typical facilities that utilize deluge suppression systems are airport hangars, chemical plants, processing plants, and data storage centers. These systems are especially useful when you need to quickly flood an area to prevent a fire from expanding. 

What are the types of deluge systems?

There are a few different types of deluge systems. These systems can be electronically operated, others are pneumatic. The electronically operated systems work when an alarm is set off via a detector, pull station, or another alarm system. Once the alarm is activated, it will energize the solenoid valve, which releases the prime water, or other agents, off the top of the valve, which allows the deluge valve to trip and deliver the agent to the hazard. 

Pre-Action Sprinkler Systems

What is a pre-action sprinkler system?

Pre-action sprinkler systems, on the other hand, are used to protect areas where water damage from damaged sprinklers or piping needs to be avoided. These are a middle ground between dry and wet fire protection systems. 

The major difference between a deluge suppression system and a pre-action system is that pre-action systems are filled with compressed air. The sprinkler heads remain closed until needed, and a pre-action valve holds back the water. It is a hybrid dry/wet system as it is a dry system until it is activated at which point it becomes a wet system. 

Pre-action fire sprinkler systems require two steps to discharge the agent. When the system first detects heat or fire the pre-action valve opens. Next, the pipes are flooded with water, dry chemicals, inert gases, or foam. After it’s filled, the specific sprinkler head must detect heat or fire to open. Then, the system will work to extinguish the fire in the immediate area.

Unlike deluge systems, these systems only cover an area that detects heat or fire. Coverage expands as more sprinkler heads detect heat/fire.

Why would you choose a pre-action sprinkler system?

One of the best reasons to incorporate pre-action sprinkler systems into your building is because sprinkler heads may be falsely triggered. When these sprinkler heads accidentally activate, there may sometimes be costly, irreversible property and water damage to your building. Because pre-action fire sprinkler systems require two-part discharge, they provide an elevated level of protection from accidental discharges. 

Another reason to utilize pre-action fire sprinkler systems is the ability of the pressurized air or nitrogen to detect leaks in the system. This allows you to ensure your system is functioning properly when you need it most. 

What other sprinkler systems should I consider?

There are a few other fire sprinkler systems to consider as you work to ensure your building remains protected. 

Wet Pipe Sprinkler Systems

These systems are the most popular sprinkler systems. They are extremely effective, low-cost, and low-maintenance. This system’s pipes remain filled with water. Once triggered by the heat-source, water flows through the activated sprinkler to the source of the fire. These systems are extremely quick to react to potential fires, however they are at risk of freezing in cold environments. 

Dry Pipe Sprinkler Systems

In freezing climates, dry pipe sprinkler systems are a better choice than wet pipe systems. These systems do not carry water in the piping until they are activated. 

Instead, these pipes are filled with pressurized air and nitrogen. When the system is activated, the dry pipe valve opens and water flows in when the sprinkler head is triggered. 

The disadvantage of these systems is that their response time is delayed. Another potential downfall to these systems is the required maintenance. Sprinkler corrosion is more prevalent in these systems, as the compressed air and oxygen create an enticing environment for corrosion. 

Single Interlock

These systems require a single, preceding fire detection event. This event is typically an activation of heat or smoke detectors. When the event occurs, the pre-action valve allows water to enter the piping system. With these systems, if a sprinkler head activates before this, it will sound a trouble alarm. However, no water will be discharged. 

Double Interlock

Double interlock pre-action systems provide an added layer of protection. These systems require a preceding fire detection to occur in conjunction with an automatic sprinkler activation, prior to water releasing into the pipes. One alarm activation will not be enough to discharge these sprinkler systems. 

At VFS Fire & Security Services we understand that your unique building needs unique fire protection systems. Our team is equipped to ensure you receive the fire protection you need to keep your building and your people safe from harm.

 

4 reasons to invest in fire protection today

By Jackie Berens

4 reasons to invest in fire protection services today.

History is destined to repeat itself if we don’t learn from it. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 is a perfect example of what can happen if you don’t have proper fire protection services in place. This fire ran rampant throughout the city of Chicago for 3 days, destroyed thousands of buildings, and caused an estimated $200 million in damages. How can you prevent losing millions in damages? Invest in fire protection services. Here are 4 reasons to invest in fire protection services today.

Rethink your priorities!

One of the best reasons to invest in fire protection services is to keep your employees and your business safe. When your employees feel safe in their workplace, they will be more productive. Your business is their livelihood and protecting it is not just about protecting your assets, it’s about protecting them too. According to OSHA, “businesses operate more efficiently when they implement effective safety and health management systems.” 

Fire bad 

The Frankenstein character in Young Frankenstein had it right… Fire IS bad. Of the companies that experience a major fire, 70% of them do not reopen or, if they do, they fail within 3 years of the fire. This is largely due to the intensity of the business interruption fires cause. If you are well-equipped to handle a major fire, you will be better prepared to survive business interruption. How you prepare to continue running, fulfilling orders, attending appointments, and using undamaged equipment, can determine whether your company survives, or not. 

Pennywise and pound foolish

Insurance companies assess your potential risk when they determine the cost of your coverage. The cost of fire safety is a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of recovering from a fire and subsequent increases in insurance premiums. Therefore, it is important to have all the precautions in place to reduce any potential risk. Not to mention, the additional savings of keeping your business open and avoiding potential workers’ compensation payments.

Liability is no laughing matter

Lastly, by investing in the right fire safety systems and monitoring,  you can avoid potential liability. You already know that you need to ensure your building is up to code before it is safe to open. If you don’t comply with building regulations, you are opening yourself up to potential liability. The best way to keep yourself and those in your building safe is to invest in high-quality fire protection.

As they say, better safe than sorry.

Safety is our top priority at VFS, it’s in our DNA.  We want to help protect your employees, your company, your assets, and your building from any potential fire risk. Contact us today to see how we can help.

deluge sprinkler system fire protection tubes
Deluge vs. Pre Action Sprinkler Systems
4 reasons to invest in fire protection today
4 reasons to invest in fire protection services today.