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Benefits and Applications of Automatic Fire Extinguishers

Much like fire sprinklers and clean agent fire suppression systems, automatic fire extinguishers provide round-the-clock protection from fire, without needing to be manned or monitored. Automatic fire extinguishers can be a critical piece of your building’s fire safety, serving as an alternative to potentially damaging fire sprinkler systems.

Types of Automatic Fire Extinguishers

There are two main types of automatic fire extinguishers, both with characteristics that separate them from fire sprinkler systems and regular fire extinguishers:

Engineered systems – engineered automatic fire extinguishers are specifically designed for certain applications and situations. Examples include systems in computer rooms and data centers as well as those installed in boats, chemical storage facilities, transformer vaults, etc.

Pre-engineered systems – pre-engineered automatic fire extinguishers come ready-made and are designed for general purposes. They are commonly found in standard, low-risk buildings and are increasingly being seen in residential settings.

Automatic fire extinguishers are recommended for use in:

  • Hazardous materials storage facilities
  • Military vehicles
  • Mass transit systems
  • Data centers and server rooms
  • The pharmaceutical industry

Either type of automatic fire extinguisher will put down a fire without manual operation. Most function in much the same way as an automatic fire sprinkler system, with a liquid-filled glass bulb that bursts in response to high temperatures (typically 155 F). Chemical agents in automatic fire extinguishers can be wet or dry, or can be stored as liquid and released as gas.

Automatic Fire Extinguishers vs. Fire Sprinkler System

Fire sprinklers are required by building codes in most areas in the US and are still a highly effective method of putting out fires. Industrial and residential fire sprinkler systems alike have a pressurized water supply that activates when the sprinkler head is triggered by heat (the same method as an automatic fire extinguisher). Fire sprinkler systems engage locally, meaning they will only go off in the area of a fire.

In most settings, fire sprinkler systems are an almost perfect means of defense against fire. However, the water released by the sprinklers can cause substantial damage—almost as much as a fire itself. For certain applications, such as electrical rooms and rooms with sensitive or fragile equipment, the risk of water damage is too great. In these cases, automatic fire extinguishers using gas or dry chemical agents are much better suited.

Reliability and Affordability

Having an unreliable fire suppression system is almost worse than not having a fire suppression system at all. If you have an automatic fire extinguisher installed by Confires, we will ensure that it will go off when you need it most and protect your vital equipment and employees.

If you’re thinking of installing an automatic fire extinguisher in your building in New Jersey or Delaware, call Confires today!

Category: Fire Extinguishers