What is Fire Suppression?

15 January 2016

UK businesses suffer costs in excess of £500 million every year due to fire damage. Your main tool in the prevention of fire is of course human vigilance, but most work environments aren’t staffed by people 24 hours a day, and even the most eager of night watchmen can’t observe everywhere at once. Electrical fires and malicious attacks can occur at any time of day, so the best way to ensure the constant fire safety of your property is to have in place an automatic fire suppression system.

Fire Suppression Systems

The exact type of automatic fire suppression system your business premises need is determined by several factors; the materials on site, the processes undertaken on site, the layout of your building, and whether humans are present in the environment you wish to make safe. All automatic fire suppression systems utilise sensory equipment to detect the signs of fire, and provide an immediate response to the problem in order to minimise its effects. The detection often involves the use of fire alarms, smoke detectors and heat sensors, and use water, inert gases or chemical agents to combat the fire.

The most common style of fire suppression system you will be aware of is the water-based sprinkler system, of which there are two types. Wet sprinkler systems are constantly ready with a full connection to a water supply, and are often set to automatically activate upon detection of fire or smoke. Alternatively a dry sprinkler system can be provided, which still combats a fire using water, but said water is located elsewhere and not present in the pipes at all times. This is a useful system if the risk area is particularly cold, but it does increase the response time of the fire suppression system itself.

Another fire suppression system involves the use of inert gas, which displaces the oxygen in a room and effectively smothers the fire. This is a useful system to have if you are worried about damaging electronics with a water based-system, and it is a common feature of computer server rooms. However, the potential asphyxiation dangers to nearby humans must be evaluated beforehand, and as such an inert gas fire suppression system often features prior warning to evacuate the area.

Automatic wet and dry chemical systems are another option if your building contains materials which prove sensitive to water or inert gases. Like inert gas systems a chemical response almost always comes with a built-in delay to allow time for employees to evacuate, since many fire suppression chemicals are hazardous to humans.

Choosing the right kind of fire suppression system for your business premises is an important task; and one which could save lives, time and money should a fire occur. If you need advice on which system might be best for your business, contact Total Fire Services today.


We offer our clients a complete fire safety management service, our key services include:

Fire Risk Assessments

Delivering a comprehensive and detailed report on your property.

Fire Safety Consultancy

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Fire Risk Management Software

Manage multiple risk assessment actions with our Aurora software.

Fire Safety Training

Our fire safety training courses cover every level of fire safety, from basic through to advanced.