Frequently Asked Questions

1How does a fire suppression system work?
Fire suppression systems are waterless and instead use gas or a mixture of gaseous agents to put out a fire. The main goal is to reduce the amount of oxygen in the air, thus breaking the fire triangle (oxygen—heat—fuel) and putting out the fire. Some fire suppression systems, like the FM-200®, take a different approach and extinguish fires through rapid heat absorption.

These systems often store the clean agent away from the area it protects and use a pipe network to get the agent to the discharge nozzles, which are located above each potential fire location. Three key components make up most suppression systems: notification devices, smoke detectors, and a control panel. Smoke detectors act as the first line of defense and sense a fire in its incipient stages. They activate the control panel to alert the notification devices, which sound alarms and activate visual devices so occupants know to exit the area. The control panel also allows the release of the agent into specific locations to effectively put out the fire.
2What is a deluge system?
A deluge system is a type of fire sprinkler system. Like pre-action sprinkler systems, the deluge system is connected to an early warning detection system which uses an electric deluge valve to control water flow. These systems have open sprinkler heads, so they rely on the valve to hold back water until a fire is present and the flow is released. Unlike a normal wet or dry sprinkler system where only the head closest to the fire releases water, a deluge system allows water to be released through all sprinkler heads in a space simultaneously. For this reason, deluge systems are typically reserved for places in which high-capacity water release is needed like airplane hangars, fuel-loading facilities, power plants, and facilities that store or process chemicals.
3What are the different types of fire suppression systems?
Fire suppression systems fall under 4 categories: chemical clean agents, inert gases, CO2 systems, and water mist systems.

Chemical Clean Agent Suppression Systems focus on being fast-acting and safe for humans. They are commonly used to protect valuable and irreplaceable assets like computers, data servers, other electronics, museums and artwork, libraries and archives, and other similar facilities. Anything that cannot risk water damage from traditional systems is protected with a chemical clean agent system. Depending on the application, your business may be protected by one of the following systems: FM-200®, NOVEC 1230®, ECARO-25®, and others.

For gaseous fire suppression systems, your business may benefit from either inert gases or CO2 systems. Inert gas suppression systems include nitrogen, argon, and CO2, or a combination of gases. They work by reducing oxygen levels to break the fire triangle (oxygen—heat—fuel), so combustion cannot continue. Inert gases are safe for people and the environment. CO2 systems are unsafe for people and are recommended only for areas in which people do not go. This is because CO2 systems use a heavy gas blanket to smother the fire and deplete the room of oxygen.

The last type of fire suppression system is a water mist system. This is not to be confused with a water sprinkler system. Water mist systems produce an ultra-fine mist that use 50 to 90% less water than a traditional sprinkler system, thus resulting in little to no water damage. Similar to traditional sprinkler systems, the water mist suppression system can also be connected to a building’s water supply or to a nearby tank or reservoir in order to continuously fight a fire.
4What chemical is in fire sprinklers?
Fire sprinkler systems do not usually have chemicals in the water used to douse fires; however, wet pipe systems may use an antifreeze chemical in places where pipes cannot reliably be kept in temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. These are only found in existing systems, though, as new antifreeze installations are not permitted in the United States. These systems are set to be phased out by 2022 through regulatory action. In cold places, a dry pipe sprinkler system is recommended.
5What is the cost of a fire suppression system?
Determining the cost of a fire suppression system for your facility depends on several critical factors like what type of facility you have, size of the space, and what asset(s) you are trying to protect. Of course, your answer to the first of those questions – type of facility – will be the leading factor as your Marco Life Safety Advisor helps find the best solution for your business.

There are a lot of different variables that go into pricing out your fire suppression system. To learn more about this, click here