Automatic fire extinguishing systems – history of creation, varieties, application

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The problem of objects burning is one of the most acute. Disturbing news from the regions is heard almost daily. Failure to comply with fire safety standards, especially in crowded places, leads to huge material and human losses. And it’s not at all a matter of negligence. The desire to put the facility into operation in the shortest possible time with minimal investment takes precedence over the simplest human feelings – personal safety and self-preservation. Failure to comply with elementary fire safety rules, violation of the order of operation of facilities lead to such sad consequences. In addition, the absence of elementary fire extinguishing means plays an important role in such situations. It is especially worth paying attention to the fact that automatic fire extinguishing systems help to eliminate such a risk factor as the role of a person.

Fire-fighting equipment

It is the automation that is responsible for the timely detection of fire sources and the inclusion of the fire extinguishing system in automatic mode. In addition, this system will send a signal to the fire brigade about a fire at the facility. The automatic fire extinguishing system is designed for the fastest possible reaction to fire and more complete elimination of the factors due to which the combustion process occurs (the presence of combustible substances, the presence of oxygen (or, more simply, the flow of fresh air), the presence of high temperatures).

Japan can be considered the birthplace of modern automatic fire extinguishing systems. Just do not confuse fixed fire extinguishing systems with automatic installations. Stationary fire extinguishing systems have been developed and used in the past. As an example, we can cite a water installation for fire extinguishing of the concentration plant of the Zmeinogorsk mine (1770), a steam extinguishing system at the Russian-Baltic Carriage Works (1879), an automatic fire extinguishing sprinkler system, which was built by Harrison Stewart in 1864. But the most advanced system was developed in Japan. Naturally, the fire extinguishing system developed by the Japanese was completely different, unlike the systems with which modern buildings and structures are equipped. The impetus for the creation of such fire extinguishing systems was the strongest earthquake that destroyed Tokyo in 1923. However, most of the people did not die under the rubble, but as a result of fires and the lack of means to extinguish them. Only in the early 1950s, a chemical substance, light water (BONPET), was obtained by the professor of chemistry Nizamo Jiro, which later began to be used in fire extinguishers that automatically turn on during a fire. It is these automatic fire extinguishers that are the first serial fire extinguishing systems..

Types of automatic fire extinguishing systems

A number of regulatory documents, for example, “Fire Safety Standards” (NPB), “List of buildings, structures, premises and equipment to be protected by automatic fire extinguishing installations and automatic fire alarms” directly provide for the presence of automatic fire extinguishing systems at certain facilities. This is most often due to the specifics of the functioning of such facilities (closed parking lots, archives, warehouse and retail space, etc.). GOST defines an automatic fire extinguishing system as a set of permanently installed special technical fire extinguishing means that extinguish fires due to a special substance. It is by the type of extinguishing agent that automatic fire extinguishing systems are classified:

  • Gas fire extinguishing. The systems use argon, freon (23, 125, 218, 227e, 318ts), nitrogen, CO2, sixphosphoric sulfur, NOVEC 1230, carbon dioxide, argon, inergen, etc..
  • Water-based fire-extinguishing system (water, steam), foam and water-foam automatic fire extinguishing, water fine spraying systems.
  • Powder fire extinguishing systems.
  • Aerosol automatic fire extinguishing systems.
  • Combined automatic fire extinguishing systems.

Naturally, the cost of the entire automatic fire extinguishing installation will largely depend on the type of substance that is used to extinguish the fire and the size of the room. Let’s take a quick look at these fire extinguishing systems.

Automatic gas extinguishing systems

Automatic gas extinguishing systems are the most expensive, but also one of the most promising fire extinguishing systems. The fact is that the use of special gases causes minimal damage to property that is in the fire zone. In addition, the use of gases completely eliminates the occurrence of a short circuit in the wiring system, which is also important in modern buildings and structures. The damage that other automatic fire extinguishing systems (water, powder, etc.) can cause as a result of false alarms is not even worth talking about.

Automatic gas extinguishing systems

Automatic fire extinguishing gas systems are of central and modular type. Such systems consist of a supply gas pipeline with special nozzles, a fire detection system, gas storage receivers, a filling station, system control units (sensors, an uninterruptible power supply system, a communication system, etc.). In addition to the fact that the gas displaces oxygen from the combustion zone, it tends to lower the ambient temperature when it leaves the gas pipeline, which makes it possible to fight fire more effectively. Gas fire extinguishing installations can be used at temperatures from -45 to + 55 degrees. Modern gases, which are designed for use in automatic fire extinguishing systems, allow people to be in the zone where the gas is used, which allows not only to evacuate personnel from the fire zone, but also to fight the fire. These gases include inergen. The disadvantages of such fire extinguishing systems include stringent requirements for the tightness of the fire extinguishing system and the requirements for maximum tightness of the premises where such installations are mounted. Otherwise, these fire extinguishing systems will be ineffective. Also, gas fire extinguishing systems are not effective in those places where there may be substances that can burn without oxygen access, self-igniting, when extinguishing various kinds of powder metals (titanium, sodium, etc.).

Automatic fire extinguishing water system

Water automatic fire extinguishing systems are the most common due to their relatively low cost and high efficiency. Water systems are divided in turn into:

  • installations for extinguishing local areas of fire (sprinkler fire extinguishing installations);
  • fire extinguishing installations throughout the facility (deluge fire extinguishing systems).

Local (sprinkler) fire extinguishing systems are triggered directly at the site of the fire; water spraying units in such systems are of “dry” and “wet” type. It depends on the specifics of the object – heated or not heated premises. These systems have poor sensitivity. Deluge fire extinguishing systems are often used in industrial workshops. In warehouses.

Local (sprinkler) fire extinguishing systems

Now there are special sprays that do not just spray water, but create a water mist, which allows you to effectively deal with fires. However, water-based fire extinguishing systems have one drawback – the limitation of the scope. There are a number of materials that cannot be extinguished with water. Foaming systems have much less limitations. Such systems are used to equip oil storage facilities, factories for the production and processing of oil, alcohol, various chemical industries..

Aerosol and powder fire extinguishing systems

These systems are used both in autonomous fire extinguishing systems and in mobile vehicles. Autonomous fire extinguishing systems in which powder is used as an extinguishing agent are equipped with highly sensitive sensors that allow you to localize the source of fire at the very initial stages.

Aerosol and powder fire extinguishing systems

The disadvantages of such systems include the fact that after a certain period of time it is necessary to change the powder, since it tends to cake. It is also forbidden to install aerosol fire extinguishing systems in rooms that personnel cannot leave before the start of operation of such installations, in places of a large crowd of people, in structures of 3 and lower degrees of fire resistance.

Combined automatic fire extinguishing systems

It is the combined fire extinguishing systems that are most effective in fighting fire. This system allows you to make the most of all the positive properties of a particular method of extinguishing a fire and at the same time allows you to significantly save money. The negative properties include perhaps the complexity of this system..

Installation and maintenance of an automatic fire extinguishing system

The operability of the automatic fire extinguishing system will depend on the correct choice of the system, high-quality design and installation accuracy. It is worth paying more attention to enterprises that supply and install such equipment. Otherwise, the damage that can be caused to your property will be enormous. And the reason for this may not even be a fire, but a simple false operation of the fire extinguishing system. The main documents that guide the maintenance of automatic fire extinguishing systems are GOST R 50800, GOST R 50680, NPB, Guidelines for maintenance (VNIIPO).

There are many manufacturers of fire extinguishing systems; they are widely represented in our market. However, due to the specific application of the names of such firms, they will not say much to the average consumer. The company GRINNELL has proven itself perfectly, which produces a wide range of materials and equipment for fire extinguishing installations, complex solutions for ensuring fire safety of facilities are offered by the world famous company BOSCH, which produces a wide variety of equipment for ensuring fire safety – fire detectors, fire display panels, etc. As we wrote earlier, the cost of installing various fire extinguishing systems will depend not only on the size of the object, but also on the type of the fire extinguishing system itself. So, for example, the Alliance “Integrated Safety” company carries out adjustment and installation of a water fire extinguishing system at the rate of 600 rubles per 1 sq. M. excluding the cost of the equipment itself.

On the Russian market, firms that offer fire-fighting equipment can be conditionally divided into two large groups:

  • firms that are engaged in the installation of ready-made modules and work with one (several) equipment manufacturers;
  • companies that directly produce fire fighting equipment.

You have to make a choice yourself, but, you must agree, negotiating the cost of one or another equipment is always more profitable and easier to directly contact the manufacturer.

Neglect of fire safety rules often leads to irreparable consequences. The event, which took place in Perm on December 5, 2009, caused a huge resonance not only in the country, but also in Europe. The number of victims of this tragedy is more than 150 people. A strange combination of circumstances led to the fact that the celebration of 8 years of existence of the popular Lame Horse nightclub became the last day of its existence and the starting point in the minds of Russian officials in realizing the vital need for a serious approach to the safety of their citizens. This incident forced the authorities to look at the problem of fires and the responsibility for their consequences not only on the part of the owners of certain objects. Those persons who were called upon to control all measures to prevent such situations also suffered just punishment. The mere fact that the automatic fire extinguishing system with which the nightclub was equipped was turned off speaks of gross violations. The automatic system must not and cannot be disabled. This is precisely its feature..


Here’s another fresh, resonant event. On March 20, 2010, a fire broke out in the business center on 2 Khutorskaya Street, Moscow, as a result of which part of the building collapsed, and the head of the Moscow firefighting service, Yevgeny Chernyshev, died. A criminal case has been initiated into the fire. The question involuntarily arises – why did the automatic fire extinguishing system not work, with which an object of this class must be equipped without fail? But not everything is so sad. In most cases, automatic fire extinguishing systems eliminate fires in a timely manner. There are also funny cases when some thrill-seekers try to check the performance of such systems for the sake of a joke, and as you know, automation does not understand such jokes and does not forgive. Automatic fire extinguishing installations can be installed not only in stationary objects. Such installations are used to equip aircraft engines, and despite the fact that there are malfunctions in the operation of such systems, life has shown the need for their presence in an aircraft. A number of documents oblige armored vehicle manufacturers to install autonomous fire extinguishing systems on their products. Such installations are used to equip vehicles of collectors, vehicles of hidden reservation. Automatic fire extinguishing systems are also installed on trucks that participate in the Paris-Dakar rally..

Automatic fire extinguishing systems can fight fires so effectively that the fire services arriving at the scene of the emergency can only find the causes of the fire, and not fight the fire. A striking example of this is the fire that occurred in the control room of the TVC channel, where the fire source was localized by an autonomous system, which did not allow the fire to spread throughout the room. There are a lot of such examples, statistics show that automatic fire extinguishing systems are very effective and reliable, even though many enterprises do not service this equipment in a timely manner. Small troubles happen, such as poisoning of people who have fallen into the range of fire extinguishing installations, damage to clothing. Such an incident occurred in a shopping center in the village of Vostryakovo (Moscow region). After the automatic fire extinguishing system was triggered, 7 people were hospitalized with signs of poisoning. After providing first aid, they were all allowed to go home. It is difficult to imagine what could have happened if the automatic equipment had not worked at the moment of fire. Then it was not about malaise as a result of poisoning, but about more serious injuries, possibly about victims, since at that moment there were many buyers in the store.

We did not set ourselves the goal of fully disclosing the features of an automatic fire extinguishing system, but only wanted to reveal to you all the variety of specialized equipment available on the market, to tell in general terms about the principle of operation of a particular system, about the vital necessity of using such systems. We hope this information will be useful to you..

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