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The fire systems in a building are many. There are equipment and systems for monitoring, communication, fighting fire, indication, raising alarm, diverting smoke and many others. Generally they can be classified into two categories:

  • Fire Protection System
  • Fire Fighting System

Fire systems fall under the fire codes for buildings. As fire codes may vary in different countries, no attempt is made to specify the fire codes. Instead, we will be examining the various components of a fire system in buildings.

Sometimes, there is an overlap of functions - the systems may contain elements of both fire protection and fire fighting.

Fire Protection System

Fire protection systems are used to alert people that a small fire or some overheating has occurred, and that there is a danger of fire happening soon. Smoke detectors, and heat detectors are used to detect such incidents before a big fire occurred. Persons detecting a fire need to sound the alarm to get more assistance. The break glass is the easiest way to sound the alarm. All the fire alarm panels, sub-control panels, bells, break-glass, smoke detector, heat detectors can be grouped into this area.

Fire Fighting System

The fire fighting system will be used when a big fire has already started. There is a need to extinguish it. Sprinkler systems, and hose reel systems are some of the systems used for fire fighting. Wet risers are pipes which distribute large volumes of water to canvas hoses.

The fire fighting systems contain pumps, tanks, and their own distribution piping. Motors or diesel engines drive the pumps. Hose reels and canvas hoses are terminated with nozzles for spray or jet. Sprinkler systems have special glass bulbs and sprinkler rose. Flow switches are installed to cause bells to ring when the sprinkler systems are activated. The systems can also contain gongs activated by water flow.

Automatic CO2 flooding system will discharge CO2 gas into electrical rooms to stop any fire.

Portable fire extinguishers are installed at strategic locations so that they can be used to put out small fires. Fire intercom systems are used by fire fighters to communicate with fire control room personnel.

Fire escape doors are indicated with Exit signs, and emergency lights are installed to give a bit of light if the main electrical supply has been cut off. Firemen who have to fight fires will face the danger of electrocution if they use hoses and water. The fireman switch can be switched off to avoid this problem.

Smoke spill fans and exhaust fans are sometimes installed for controlling smoke in a burning building.


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