Levitt-Safety Blog

The most surprising places you’ll find a fire suppression system

Derek McEwenMarket Segment Manager, Fire Systems and Mining TechnologyAugust 2, 2019

Generally, we find that fire suppression systems are installed in server rooms so that companies don’t lose their precious data if there’s a fire. But, where else are these systems put to use? Today I’m sharing three surprising places that Levitt-Safety has implemented a fire suppression system.

Why do companies install fire suppression systems?

Before we get into it, it’s worth noting why companies implement these systems. Usually, it’s for one of two reasons:

  1. Requirement: The authority in their area has jurisdiction (AHJ) over their worksite and/or their insurance provider requires one.
  2. Experience: They have experienced a fire emergency which led to loss of property or work time from injuries or fatalities. Alternatively, the experience gave them enough of a scare to see that it never happens again.

As technology evolves many facilities are being run with less manpower. This means that fewer workers are present to react if there is an emergency. If a fire does occur, the loss of precious assets -- whether it be human or material -- can cost millions of dollars. Fire suppression systems instantly discharge a solution to cease a fire, causing minimum impact to a company’s materials, machines, workers and bottom line.

Types of fire suppression systems:

There are two different types of fire suppression systems available.

1. Inert gas fire suppression systems (waterless):

Much like you find in a fire extinguisher, some gas fire suppression systems discharge CO2 to displace the oxygen in a room using a ‘total flood’ method.

Other common inert gas agents include  FM200, Inergen and Novec which break the chemical chain reaction and provide a cooling effect.

These types of suppression systems help create minimal disruption to work environments since there is no clean up needed after a discharge.

2. Foam fire suppression systems:

Foam is used in environments where there is a risk of liquid fires (i.e. grease or fuel). This liquid-based solution drops a blanket of the foam solution onto a fire and moves with the hazard.

While foam is a game changer when it comes to stopping fires, this type of solution does cause disruptions to production since it has to be cleaned up after a discharge.

Now that we have that cleared up, let’s dive into the three unexpected businesses that depend on these fire suppression systems.

foam fire suppression system discharging

1. Industrial oven

Many times this happens overnight while workers are not present on site. However, the automated process isn’t foolproof. When working with such high temperatures, there’s a risk of the expensive materials overheating and catching fire while in the oven.

The plane parts can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars themselves and that’s just the beginning. If a fire were to overtake the building, a company would run the risk of having the rest of their facility burn down as well.

When a company reached out to us looking for a solution to this problem, we recommended a CO2 system so that they could feel confident leaving their parts curing while no one was present.

In this particular situation, we implemented thermal heat detectors which notify the control panel if the temperature goes over what’s intended. If this happens, the system immediately discharges the fire suppression agent as well as notifies the fire department and facility manager.

industrial oven

2. Private plane hangar

The price of a brand new jet can run between three and 90 million dollars. If one goes up in flames while in storage, that’s a huge loss for a company.

Operators of a private plane hangar came to us looking for a way to keep their airplanes safe from the flammable equipment and fuel hazards on their site.

We implemented a foam suppression system with infrared detection. This type of system looks for flames rather than smoke – in fact, a single match can set it off. Now, this private hanger can rest easy knowing that their planes are safe at all times.

Business jet airplane

3. Cargo crane

Cargo cranes can lift anywhere from 40 to 3,500 tons of materials continuously for hours and even days at a time.

If a crane’s control panel overheats and stops working, a company faces a huge loss in productivity and their bottom line.

One of our projects brought us overseas to implement a fire suppression system in a crane’s e-house where all the electrical controls are kept.

We implemented a Novec system so that if a discharge were to happen, it wouldn’t create a mess in the control panel as opposed to using a non-clean agent.

Thanks to the fire suppression system, the cargo cranes can now operate without interruption or risk to their global import/export business.

Shore crane loading containers in freight ship

Does your facility need a fire suppression system?

The Levitt-Safety Fire Suppression System Team can visit your site to assess the best solution for your challenge, quote the project, design detailed blueprints and provide factory-trained and certified installers to see the project through to the end.

In addition, we can also provide support for your annual or semi-annual inspections (depending on the system) and assist during the discharging and recharging of systems.