Term Paper: Fire Protection Systems

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¶ … fire protection systems as required by locally adopted building and fire codes. With this in mind, advantages and disadvantages that the installation of these code required fire protection systems generate will be presented. A narrative will then be presented regarding the different types of fire detection and alarm systems. An explanation of how heath and smoke control systems may assist or hinder the control of a fire emergency, inside the protect property will be given, as well as a comparison of the different types of special and sprinkler systems, with the advantages and disadvantages of each. Problems encountered regarding the determination of the amount of water required on premises for a system, and how that water can be provided, will be discussed. This will be followed by an overview of the various types of fire extinguishers available and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Lastly, a brief overview of the public's reaction regarding the mandatory installation of these types of systems will be presented.

Advantages and Disadvantages Regarding the Installation of Code Required Fire Protection Systems:

Although fire protection systems have been around for more than a century, code required fire protection systems first made an appearance in the 1960s. Fire protection systems go beyond the benefits of alert system, such as smoke alarms. Although alert systems are important, to warn building occupants, the benefit of a fire protection system is early fire suppression. This may eliminate the fire altogether, or at the very least it may help contain it until professional help arrives. The two primary disadvantages to installing fire protection are aesthetics and cost (Fischer). Although there are now systems that fit flush with a building's ceiling, they are still detectable. In addition, despite the variety of reasonably priced systems, this requirement is still an additional building cost that has to be taken into consideration.

Different Types of Fire Detection and Alarm Systems:

Fire detection systems are early warning systems that are the first line of defense in the instances of a fire, which then trigger an alarm system to alert occupants of the presence of fire or smoke. Ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors are two types of fire detection systems. The ionization smoke detectors use "a small mount of radioactive material which ionizes the air in the sensing chamber, thus rendering it conductive and permitting a current flow through the air between two charged electrodes" ("Chapter 31" 31-1). When the circuit is completed, an alarm sounds. Photoelectric fire detection systems uses the scattering of light on a photosensitive cell, to trigger an alarm. Heat detectors are a third type of detection system, which use heat to signal an alarm. This can either be through a pre-determined temperature rating, where the alarm is triggered when the sensor reaches a specific temperature, or a rate of temperature increase. In this instance, the alarm is triggered should the rate of temperature rise exceed a predetermined rate.

How Heat and Smoke Control Systems Assist or Hinder a Fire Emergency:

The primary goal of heat and smoke control systems is to minimize these effects of fire as occupants exit the building or to aid fire fighters. Smoke control systems influence the airflow direction, which increases ventilation during a fire emergency. However, there are disadvantages to this system as well. Smoke could be redirected into fire fighter access and escape routes. Heat control systems also may divert heat into these critical routes. In addition, the movement of air could negatively affect fire suppression systems, such as sprinkler systems.

Different Types of Special and Sprinkler Systems:

There are several types of sprinkler systems available. Wet pipe systems are the most common type, for they have a quick reaction time. However, these systems are not suitable for areas where there is a risk of freezing. Alternate systems use water in the summer, and then are filled with air in the winter. These are suitable for unheated building but are more expensive than wet systems. Dry pipe systems are always filled with pressurized air, with the water held back by the control valve. These are suitable for areas where freezing is always a potential concern. The disadvantage occurs with the increased response time as the water fills the system. Lastly, deluge and recycling systems are special… [END OF PREVIEW]

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