- We represent over 25 different alternative suppression system manufacturers.
- We employ over 50 special hazards fire protection professionals who average 10 years of industry experience.
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Fire Suppression Systems
Our expertise is unsurpassed in special hazards including design, installation, inspection and maintenance of non-water based fire suppression systems like Clean Agent, CO2, and foam to name a few.
Carbon Dioxide is considered by many to be the original clean agent. It suppresses a fire through oxygen displacement and a small amount of cooling as the liquid flashes to vapor. Its biggest detraction is the fact that when large quantities are taken into the lungs, it is an asphyxiant or inhalation hazard, blocking oxygen from being absorbed into the bloodstream. Ideal for suppression of fires with most types of combustibles or flammables, most applications today are industrial process and equipment protection, where space is either unoccupied or un-occupiable. Ahern offers two types of Carbon Dioxide suppression systems.
- High-pressure CO2 is stored as a pressurized liquid in a spun steel cylinder. By keeping the agent at 850 psi at 70˚F, it remains a liquid without any additional equipment or systems.
- Low-pressure CO2 has all of the same fire suppression characteristics as High-pressure CO2, with the exception that it is stored in an insulated, refrigerated vessel to keep the product in the liquid state.
We offer a number of different clean agent fire suppression systems, all of which suppress fire through cooling. All are stored as a liquid under pressure and instantly flash to vapor when discharged into a room.
- FM-200 was the first commercially viable clean agent alternative to Halon 1301 and has since become synonymous by many for the entire family of clean agent fire suppression.
- HFC-23 (FE-13) is primarily used as a total flooding clean agent fire suppression agent in industrial situations where large volumes, changing volumes, or low temperatures are involved.
- FE-25 holds a zero ozone depleting potential and has a slightly higher natural vapor pressure than FM-200, making it an ideal retrofit agent to Halon 1301 systems.
- Novec-1230 was developed by 3M, and also has a zero ozone depleting potential. It holds a Global Warming Potential of 1, a level below that of other fluorinated agents.
Explosion protection systems are a product line many will never deal with or even knew existed. Explosion risk is present with many industrial process facilities involving food, grain, pharmaceuticals, power generation, aerosol filling, wood, or other flammable vapors or combustible dusts in confined vessels or spaces. These sophisticated systems are designed to detect an event within milliseconds by watching for either a flame, with high-speed optical flame detectors, or the pressure wave in front of the flame with pressure detectors. By rapidly injecting a suppression agent into the space or volume, the heat is removed from the flame front as it consumes the fuel, thus stopping the event.
Another method of dealing with explosion risks is venting of explosion pressures and flame to a safe area outside via explosion relief vents.
Foam fire suppression agent has a long history with many methods of application. There are various types of agent compounds, all work by using a wetting agent or surfactant to create a blanket of bubbles that can separate the fuel and oxygen, as well as cool the source of heat. Foam systems can be integrated into fixed sprinkler systems, fixed spray nozzles, fire hose streams, or introduced into a space by special foam-making equipment designed just for the purpose of making large quantities of foam. We offer four types of foam systems:
- Low Expansion
- Medium Expansion
- High Expansion
Designed around naturally occurring atmospheric gases, these systems are designed to suppress a fire by reducing the oxygen in the protected space to a level that will not support combustion but still allows occupants to breathe. These gas blends cannot be compressed into a liquid format, they are required to be stored in high pressure spun steel cylinders. As such, they require several cylinders of the agent to displace the required volume of natural atmosphere in a protected space. We offer three different Inert Suppression Systems:
- Argonite from Kiddie is a blend of Argon and Nitrogen.
- Proinert from Fike is a blend of Argon and Nitrogen.
- Inergen from Ansul is a blend of Argon, Nitrogen and a small amount of Carbon Dioxide.
Kitchen, Vehicle & Paint Booth Suppression
These hazardous environments are unique in which water may not a key suppression agent, and they may require more than one type of chemical to suppress fires. We offer two types of chemical fire suppression systems:
- Dry Chemical systems utilize the same types of dry chemical powders found in typical fire extinguishers, they are designed and engineered to apply the agent to the fire via a network of pipes and nozzles.
- Wet Chemical systems use a liquid substance that when released, produces a foam that subsequently cools the affected area preventing the fire from re-igniting.
Spark/Ember Suppression systems are typically used to stop small sparks and embers traveling in industrial ducts used to carry flammable dusts and materials to processes or filters and collection equipment.
Working with a system of very sensitive optical sensors and water spray assemblies within the ducts, the small glowing embers or sparks are detected as they travel down the duct or pipe in the airstream. Before they can make their way to the process or filter, a curtain of fine water is injected into the duct or pipe to quench and remove the heat or energy from the particles. The systems are designed to cycle on and off as needed, only stopping the process when excessive quantities of sparks or embers are seen. The systems are designed to remove the sources of energy, as a preemptive strike that could result in a fire event or explosion if not addressed.
Watermist systems are one of the newer methods of fire suppression utilizing water. What differentiates these from standard fire sprinkler systems is the water droplet size and volume of water needed for fire suppression. By breaking the water into smaller droplets, the water has a greater ability to absorb heat quickly. As the water turns to steam instantly upon hitting a flame, there is also the residual effect of some oxygen displacement from the fuel and the general wetting effects on objects that have not become involved in the fire situation. Being able to suppress a fire with very little water, the systems are ideal for critical spaces, flammable liquid spaces, equipment spaces, and even light hazard spaces such as hotels and offices where limiting damage from large volumes of water can offset the added costs associated with the watermist.
These systems can be broken into two major categories:
- Single Flow which consists of a single piping network feeding special nozzles with a high-pressure stream of water that is pressurized by either pumps or high-pressure nitrogen.
- Twin Flow which utilizes a separate pipe network for the water at a low pressure and high-pressure inert gas. These networks are combined at the nozzle to atomize the water into a stream of fine droplets and inert gas, typically nitrogen.
Both types of systems can be supplied water either by a potable continuous source or via pressure tanks holding a finite water supply. Systems are manufactured by many fire equipment providers.
Each system has various pros and cons relating to the following attributes: droplet size, operating pressure, piping types and complexities, nozzle layouts, pumping or pressurizing methods, and listings or approvals for certain applications.