Myths and Facts About Commercial Fire Sprinkler Systems
Written by webtechs

What Type of Fire Can Be Put Out Safely with Water?

There are five classes of fires, and they are classified according to what fuels them. Extinguishing a fire successfully depends on the fuel. A fire needs fuel, oxygen, and heat. To effectively put out a fire you need to remove one of these elements. Read on to learn more.

Fires are classified as Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class K. Each type of fire involves a different flammable material and a special approach to safely putting it out. Trying to extinguish a fire with the wrong method can be dangerous and make the situation worse.

  • Class A fires involve solid materials such as wood, clothing, paper, and plastic. These fires are the most common and ones that you are most likely to be familiar with. Many Class A fires are caused unintentionally by accidents such as knocking over a candle to lightning hitting a tree. Class A fires are the easiest to put out and you can use a water or foam extinguisher. The fire is smothered by extinguishing the fire’s heat supply.
  • Class B fires involve flammable liquids rather than solids. Common causes for these fires include gasoline, alcohol, and oil. It is important to note that despite involving liquid, this Class does not include cooking fires. Water does not extinguish Class B fires and can spread the flammable liquid, making it worse. You must only put out these fires with powder, foam, or carbon dioxide extinguishers to cut off the fire’s oxygen supply.
  • Class C fires involve electricity, and they can be started in old wiring, frayed cords, or faulty appliances. Should you notice an electrical fire, you must try to disconnect the appliance if it is safe to do so. Use a powder or carbon dioxide extinguisher to put these fires out. Water and foam cannot be used as they are both electrical conductors and can make the situation more dangerous. Once the power supply is shut off, Class C fires become Class A instead as the electrical component has been removed.
  • Class D fires are very rare and occur when metal ignites. These are rare because most metals require high temperatures to ignite but alkali metals like aluminum, potassium, and magnesium can ignite when exposed to water or air. You therefore, cannot use water on these fires and can only use a dry powder extinguisher. The powder works by separating the oxygen from the fuel or removing the heat.
  • Class K fires involve cooking liquids and fats and sometimes can be grouped together with Class B fires. These fires have high flash points and commonly occur on the stove when pans are left unattended. You need to remove the pan from the heat as soon as possible and never use water as it can cause a dangerous splatter effect. A wet chemical extinguisher is best for cooking fires.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

When faced with fire it is beneficial to know the ways to put out a fire and what types of fires can be put out with water. Just as there are different types of fires, there are different types of extinguishers:

  • Class A extinguishers put out common flammable materials such as wood, and paper.
  • Class B extinguishers are for grease, oils, and gasoline.
  • Class C extinguishers will put out electrical fires.
  • Class D are for flammable metals.

The materials in these extinguishers that put the fires out are either water, foam, dry powder, or carbon dioxide.

  • Water extinguishers: These work by removing the heat element and spray water propelled by air onto the flames.
  • Carbon dioxide extinguishers: These contain a mix of gaseous and liquid carbon dioxide stored at a high pressure. When released the carbon dioxide spray smothers the oxygen, starving the fire.
  • Foam and dry powder extinguishers: These work similar, with the canister either filled with foam or powder. These are propelled by compressed nitrogen and smothers the fire by depriving it of oxygen from the surrounding air.

You can purchase multipurpose extinguishers for your home, and they will put out common household fires. Most industrial or commercial properties will have extinguishers on site that can effectively put out any types of fires expected in that environment. Learn the basics of fire extinguishers on Fire Rescue Magazine.

How to Safely Extinguish Fires

There are certain fires that you are more likely to come across than others, but it is important to know how to put them out should you encounter any of the different types of fires.

  • How to put out a gas fire: Water will be ineffective but you can smother the flames with a blanket. You can also use a powder or foam extinguisher.
  • How to put out a chemical fire: ever use water as this can spread the chemicals further. Extinguish these fires with foam or dry powder.
  • How to put out a gasoline fire: Gasoline fires will require a foam or powder extinguisher. If you can, use wet rags or sand to smother the fire. This is only effective if the amount of gasoline is small.
  • How to put out an electrical fire: Do not use water. Unplug the device or appliance if safe to do so and turn off power if possible. Use a multipurpose extinguisher or smother the flames with a blanket. Baking soda can also be used on small electrical fires to smother the flames.
  • How to put out an alcohol fire: You need a carbon dioxide extinguisher for alcohol fires or cover it with something non-flammable and heat-resistant.
  • How to put out an oven fire: Close the oven door and turn it off. If flames come out of the oven, you can use a multipurpose extinguisher or throw baking soda on the flames.
  • How to smother a fire: Smothering a fire involves depriving it of oxygen and this can be done by using a blanket.

Source: https://my.firefighternation.com/profiles/blogs/what-type-of-fire-can-be-put-out-with-water#gref

Waterline Controls™

Our level sensors and controls aren’t just for use in residential potable water holding tanks; some of the other applications include cooling towers, sump pumps, wastewater, boilers, water storage tanks, and building fire protection water tanks.

Importance of Fire Safety and Prevention Planning
Written by webtechs

Commercial Building Sprinkler Systems: When Are They Required?

Fire safety is highly important for owners and managers of commercial buildings. A fire in a commercial establishment could lead to serious injury or even death of employees and customers. Read on to learn more about sprinkler systems.

Fire Sprinkler Requirements for Commercial Buildings

Some of the more important fire sprinkler requirements for commercial buildings include:

  • Automatic fire sprinkler systems must be installed in all newly built commercial buildings with a fire area that exceeds 5,000 square feet, after any remodeling or renovation that extends the fire area beyond 5,000 square feet, or any single tenant expansion requiring a new certificate of occupancy that increases the fire area beyond 12,000 square feet. Fire sprinkler systems must be installed throughout the building and must be designed to provide the maximum amount of coverage.
  • Sprinkler systems must be installed in townhomes that contain more than two residential occupancy units per building.
  • Buildings more than 55 feet in height must have automatic sprinkler systems installed throughout the building.
  • Fire pumps should be installed to increase the amount of pressure in a sprinkler system when the system is fed by a non-pressurized water tank or when the municipal water system does not have sufficient pressure to provide enough water to sprinklers. Wherever possible, fire pumps should be housed in separate buildings. If pumps are located in the same building, they should be in a fire-rated room with an exterior entrance. Pump room entrances should be clearly marked to make them easier to find and access.
  • Water supply control valves must be accessible for easy operation. Valves located in stairways must be protected and easily accessible during a fire. Valves should be clearly identified and marked, with exterior signs showing locations of indoor valves. Valves should be marked with information indicating areas or locations covered.
  • Self-storage facilities must have automatic sprinklers installed throughout the facility, except in one-story facilities with no indoor corridors and with a one-hour fire barrier.

Waterline Controls™

Our level sensors and controls aren’t just for use in residential potable water holding tanks; some of the other applications include cooling towers, sump pumps, wastewater, boilers, water storage tanks, and building fire protection water tanks.

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Written by webtechs

Importance of Fire Safety and Prevention Planning

Read on to learn more about fire safety and planning for prevention.

Fires affect thousands of companies each year resulting in injury, lost customer trust and building damage. By establishing a fire prevention and preparedness program, you can help avoid injuries to your employees and visitors, costly damages, and potential fines to your business. Below are some best practices to help prepare your facility for a fire emergency.

Implement a Fire Emergency Evacuation Plan – Emergency response is easier when everyone knows their respective responsibilities. Establish a detailed fire emergency evacuation plan that dictates how to respond, when to respond, and identifies a path of egress. If employees have special needs or require special attention, address these details in the plan.

Establish a Fire Prevention Plan – A fire prevention plan provides facilities with documentation outlining the employees responsible for identifying combustible materials, fire hazards and heat-producing equipment. It also outlines the procedures necessary to prevent potential emergencies. The fire prevention plan should be communicated with all employees and available in writing for review at any time.

Train Team Members – On an annual basis, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and NFPA require fire extinguisher training for employees. Every employee should receive required training and be briefed on new or updated regulations.

Maintain Emergency and Exit Lights – To ensure paths of egress and exits stay illuminated at all times, implement a routine maintenance plan to check lights and replace broken or burnt out bulbs. In addition, regularly test emergency backup power and exit lights to confirm they are functioning.

Practice Proper Housekeeping Techniques – Daily housekeeping tasks play an important role in keeping facilities clear of fire hazards. Make sure trash and packing materials are in metal containers with tight-fitting lids. Clean up flammable materials immediately, including chemical spills and oil to reduce the risk of fire. Likewise, extra storage and equipment should be in proper storage areas clear of aisles or fire exits and not interfering with automatic sprinkler systems.

Create a Fire Emergency Response Team – Develop a team of individuals who are trained and educated in fire emergency plan procedures and are willing to enforce fire safety and prevention methods throughout the building. The team members will assist others during a fire emergency and help guide people to safety.

Preventative Maintenance – Enlisting a licensed and certified fire protection company provides facility managers with quality inspections, safety tests and repairs to fire protection equipment. Establish frequencies as outlined in NFPA code by the equipment manufacturer and the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).

Waterline Controls™

Our level sensors and controls aren’t just for use in residential potable water holding tanks; some of the other applications include cooling towers, sump pumps, wastewater, boilers, water storage tanks, and building fire protection water tanks.

Why Do Sump Pump Float Switches Fail?
Written by webtechs

What is a Building Management System?

The primary aim of the BMS (Building Management System) is to guarantee the safety of facility operation – read on to learn of some examples.

1.HVAC System. The duct temperature, pressure, and humidity, as well as exhaust temperature are connected to the BMS, and if their value exceeds defined limits, an alarm is generated.

2.Central Fume Collection, Laminar Flow Units, Dust Collection System, Central Vacuum System, Heat blowers. The BMS monitors the performance of these systems, allowing for early identification of units requiring maintenance. Sudden breakdown would signal via alarms and then appropriate action can be taken to protect the product.

3.Technical Steam System. Should, for instance, the pressure or temperature in the piping system fall below the defined regulatory values for clean steam, the BMS shall trigger an alarm, indicating a threat to product quality.

4.Hot Water System and Central Heating. Temperature and pump control monitoring via the BMS allows for a proper functioning of hot water distribution through the facility.

5.Chilled Water System. Control of the facility chillers could be supervised by BMS to monitor proper behavior of the system in terms of water/coolant temperature control or pump control to assure proper distribution within the distribution loop.

6.Sprinkler System (for fire safety).

7.Electrical Monitoring System. The BMS may monitor the consumed electrical power and the state of main electrical switches.

BMS Advantages

  • It protects your most costly equipment by allowing you to keep close tabs on it and ensure it functions properly.
  • It simplifies the management of your facility, making it easy to access and control any area of your building’s operations.

It helps your building operate more cost-efficiently through automatic scheduling and occupancy controls.

BMS Disadvantages

  • Building management systems are expensive, sometimes costing hundreds of thousands of dollars at the outset in addition to high recurring fees to keep it operational.
  • The limitations in the data it provides won’t help you achieve maximum energy savings and operational efficiency.
  • It may be missing some of the smaller equipment that also offers opportunities for savings.
  • BMSs are disparate, siloed systems that don’t work collaboratively.

Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/building-management-system

Waterline Controls™

Our level sensors and controls aren’t just for use in residential potable water holding tanks; some of the other applications include cooling towers, sump pumps, wastewater, boilers, water storage tanks, and building fire protection water tanks.

Importance of Fire Safety and Prevention Planning
Written by webtechs

What is a Fire Water System?

A fire sprinkler system is an active fire protection method, consisting of a water supply system, providing adequate pressure and flowrate to a water distribution piping system, onto which fire sprinklers are connected. Although historically only used in factories and large commercial buildings, systems for homes and small buildings are now available at a cost-effective price. Fire sprinkler systems are extensively used worldwide, with over 40 million sprinkler heads fitted each year. In buildings completely protected by fire sprinkler systems, over 96% of fires were controlled by fire sprinklers alone.

A firewater system generally has four main sections:

1. A supply of firewater. This can come from storage tanks, a firewater lagoon, or a natural body of water such as the sea or a lake or river.

2.A pumping system that provides a sufficient flow of water to extinguish the fire.

3.A header network of pipes, often in the form of a ring main that transfers the water from the pumps to the fire.

4.Hydrants, nozzles, sprinklers, or other local devices for directing the firewater to the location of the emergency.

Source 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_sprinkler_system

Waterline Controls™

Our level sensors and controls aren’t just for use in residential potable water holding tanks; some of the other applications include cooling towers, sump pumps, wastewater, boilers, water storage tanks, and building fire protection water tanks.

Importance of Fire Safety and Prevention Planning
Written by webtechs

Fire Protection vs. Fire Prevention

What is the difference between fire prevention and fire protection? Read on to learn more!

Fire protection and fire prevention are both essential to keeping you and your property safe but they are subtly different.

Fire prevention involves proactive steps taken to reduce fire hazards so that a fire does not have a chance to ignite. Fire prevention reduces these hazards through regular maintenance, inspection, and testing of the systems in your building. You should have regular maintenance and testing scheduled with a professional to keep systems in working order. Fire protection systems are a series of components that work together to detect fires and mitigate the negative impacts. Fire protection includes alarms, suppression systems, sprinkler systems, extinguishers, and any technology that allows you to alert people or monitor the fire.

Why you Need Fire Protection and Prevention

Do you have your heating system regularly inspected but don’t know the last time you’ve checked the fire extinguishers? If so, you are neglecting your fire protection and require fire protection services. Do you feel confident your building is up to code on the amount and location for fire alarms but your staff is not trained on fire prevention strategies? If so, you are missing an integral component of fire safety. Both fire protection and prevention are necessary for your safety and security. Fire prevention is essential to limit risks and reduce hazards that could potentially start fires. However, not all fires can be prevented and risks are almost never entirely eliminated. For that reason, fire protection is also necessary.

Fire prevention and fire protection are extremely important but can also be complicated with so many moving parts. That’s why it’s important to choose a fire protection service provider that is knowledgeable and experienced. 

Source: https://www.marcofire.com/blog/difference-between-fire-protection-and-fire-prevention/

Waterline Controls™

Our level sensors and controls aren’t just for use in residential potable water holding tanks; some of the other applications include cooling towers, sump pumps, wastewater, boilers, water storage tanks, and building fire protection water tanks.

Importance of Fire Safety and Prevention Planning
Written by webtechs

Fire Protection Systems

Fire systems are not only integral to the operation of a business, their benefits are incalculable in the event of the fire, increasing the likelihood of reduced damage to equipment, inventory and documents. Read on to learn more.

Understanding How a Fire Protection System Functions

A common fire protection system is a smoke detector and a sprinkler. If a fire sparks, smoke sets off the detector causing the sprinkler system to activate. The water protects against the spread of fire. However, automatic fire suppression systems using clean agents are a superior choice.

Benefits of Fire Protection Systems

A fire impacts business operations for a significant period of time and may cost millions to a small business.  Equipment may need to be replaced, and valuable contracts could be lost. All of this must be taken into consideration. An additional benefit of some types of fire protection systems is the automatic dispatching of emergency services.

Determining the Appropriate Fire Protection System

As many fire protection systems are permanent, so it is vital to think about your facility’s future needs, not just its present needs.

You must hire a company who understands your needs who can customize your fire protection options. If you do not have adequate protection, you may face exposure and downtime.

Active vs. Passive Fire Protection

Fire protection can be active or passive. Examples of passive protection include fire doors and fire escapes. Active fire protection uses a system that reacts in case of a fire. Examples of active fire protection include sprinkler systems and special hazard fire suppression systems.

Active vs. Non-Electric Detection

Non-electric fire detection does not require electricity.

You will also want to think about the system offering and any services that come with it.

  • Will the system give you around the clock detection?
  • Does it notify authorities once triggered?
  • What are the recommendations for ongoing inspection or testing of the equipment?

When you want to protect critical equipment or machines, a fire suppression system may be your best option.

Waterline Controls™

Our level sensors and controls aren’t just for use in residential potable water holding tanks; some of the other applications include cooling towers, sump pumps, wastewater, boilers, water storage tanks, and building fire protection water tanks.

Myths and Facts About Commercial Fire Sprinkler Systems
Written by webtechs

Types of Fire Protection Systems

Minimizing the risk of fire at your business or home is highly important. Read on to learn more about the different types of fire protection systems.

Active Systems

  • Fire sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, smoke and fire alarms are all part of an active fire system.
  • Active systems can be manually activated or automatically activated.
  • Active systems are designed to alert people of an emergency so they can evacuate.
  • These systems are most effective when people are aware of how they work and know what to do in case of an emergency. hence why fire drills are so important!

Passive Systems 

  • Passive fire protection extends the time period for evacuation by suppressing smoke and fire.
  • Examples of passive systems more commonly used for commercial installation include fire-resistant walls, fire doors, and fire dampers for air ducts.
  • The design of these devices enables them to automatically engage when heat or smoke is detected. Their purpose is to contain the fire in the location that it originated in order to slow it from spreading to other areas of the building.

Clean Agents

  • Clean agents protect one-of-a-kind assets. This agent avoids damage often associated with traditional water sprinkler systems.

Gas Systems

  • Gas systems work by displacing oxygen that is present.
  • These systems are designed to be safe for use in areas where people are working, although if only carbon dioxide is used for fire suppression.
  • Gas systems leave no toxic or liquid residue that might damage or be a hazard to property or equipment.

Dry Chemical

  • The dry chemicals, also known as powders, are typically made of sodium bicarbonate or mono-ammonium phosphate.
  • The powder type will depend on the type of business the system is being installed in. 

You can also utilize a combination of above known as hybrid systems. Water Line Controls can assist you in choosing the best options for your business or home.

 

Waterline Controls™

Our level sensors and controls aren’t just for use in residential potable water holding tanks; some of the other applications include cooling towers, sump pumps, wastewater, boilers, water storage tanks, and building fire protection water tanks.

FPT50 Controller
Written by webtechs

FPT 50T – Fire Service Water Tank Level Control w/ High & Low Alarms, 40F Temperature

FPT50T – Fire Service Water Tank Level Control w/ High & Low Alarm, 40F Temperature

Complete Kit Includes:

NEMA4x Control Panel
Sensor w/ 50 ft. Cable
Sensor Mounting Assembly

Features

  • Dry contacts to BMS for measuring Fill “ON” time
  • Low Water Alarm
  • High Water Alarm
  • Temperature 40F Indication (per NFPA requirements)
  • Fault conditions
  • Operates 110VAC Solenoid Valve
  • 110VAC 95db Audible Alarm w/ Silencer Switch Installed in the Panel

Description

The system is automatically controlled within an operating range (this range can be set by custom ordered probes or cutting the current probes to length in the field). The system also monitors for a high water level condition and a low water level condition.
These conditions have three outputs each which are:

  1. Close a set of dry contacts for the BMS
  2. Operate a relay rated at 30AMPS / 250VAC
  3. Turn on an LED to indicate the sensor has tripped

The Fill dry contacts can be used as a comparative to develop a baseline benchmark of water usage for the system.

Custom Sensors lengths available upon request.

*If you are a Reseller, Sales Organization, Distributor, Contractor or an OEM we want to talk with you to determine an SPA price program for your organization so please call us at 480-905-1892 or contact us now.

Altitude Valve
Written by webtechs

Replace Altitude Valves with Modern Controllers

Replace Altitude Valves with Modern Controllers

Many ground level or elevated water storage systems use what is known as an Altitude Valve. These valves close at a preset high-level to prevent overflow of water in a ground storage tank or reservoir, opening to refill the water in the tank or reservoir as the level lowers. In crude systems they are reliable and effective.

Modern water storage requirements are not usually well served by such stand-alone devices though.

Fire Safety Water Holding Tanks

For fire protection, a much more effective, less temperamental and less expensive solution is an electronically operated system that connects to automated building management systems, has alarms, or even redundant switching and alarms.

FPT50 ControllerA better solution for Fire Safety holding tank systems, and a replacement for them, is the Waterline Controls WLC FPT-50. This Fire Service Water Tank Level Control with high and low alarms gives you modern, state of the art control, visible and audible alarms, and peace of mind.

Our systems come with a modern, intrinsically safe, electronic sensors. Our systems connects to a BAS or building management system for many modern code requirements, or just logical safety precautions.

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