Four Types of Fire Suppression Systems| Alpine Fire Engineers


When protecting a large-scale industrial site against fire damage, a cost effective and efficient choice is the fire suppression system.

In a market full of solutions, the biggest challenge isn’t installation or maintenance but determining, which is the most reliable, trustworthy best fit system to prevent loss of life and minimise damage.

Water Mist System

A water mist sprinkler is a fixed fire suppression system that forces a cone of water spray through pipes and out of micro nozzles to control, suppress or extinguish a fire. When a fire encounters the mist droplets, both heat and oxygen are reduced, putting out the fire. The system is installed in large data rooms where flammable liquids or electrical equipment is stored.

This brief guide outlines the 4 most common types of systems available, weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of each. Meaning all the hard work is done for you!

The agent is cheap meaning its inexpensive to cover a large site area.
It is quick and easy to replace after discharge due to there being no mess or flooding.
Fires with low heat release rates may not be extinguished by water mist systems.

Foam Deluge System

The sprinkler heads are open, and the pipe isn’t pressurised with air. Instead its connected to a water supply which is released by a heat sensitive detection tube when a fire spreads.

The water mixes with a foam concentrate causing it to expand. The system is installed when a site is considered high hazard. Such sites include tanker loading bays, power plants, and aircraft hangers.

A deluge system can protect a site where the risk of a fire spreading rapidly is high.
The system can be set off both manually and automatically depending on the situation.
Due to the cost of the equipment and the foam concentrate, deluge systems are typically more expensive.

Gas Suppression System

A gas system, also referred to as a clean agent fire suppression system, uses inert gases and chemical agents to prevent a fire. Discharging a clear, colourless and odourless agent.

When released the agent has a chemical reaction with the fire, removing the oxygen content to below 15% where most materials don’t burn. The system may be installed where high value assets are stored.

A gas system reduces oxygen to just below 15% so its safe for humans upon discharge.
The gas used in the system is stored as a liquid in cylinders and therefore has a smaller system footprint.
A potenital ban on HFC means within 20 years all systems may have to be replaced.

Sprinkler Systems

A sprinkler system is made up of heads, pipes and an external water source. Each of the sprinkler heads is connected to a piping system with a valve that stops water leaking out, this system attaches to an external source, typically a water tank.

When heat is detected a glycerine-based liquid expands breaking a bulb in the sprinkler head. The valve opens allowing pressurised water to spray out in the designated spray pattern.

A well maintained sysem can last up to 20 years before needing repairs.
Compared to a fire hose sprinkler systems use much less water.
Once installed the system will require regular planned inspection and testing.

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