Fire Protection System in Buildings

Er. Raj Kumar Aggarwal
Executive Engineer
Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot

The increasing frequency of fire hazards in major public, commercial, industrial and high rise buildings is quite alarming and maximum fire hazards take place due to electric short circuit in all types of buildings. So, preventing fire accidents is one of the most important aspect of the building services to protect human life and property strictly in that order.

                      Fire Protecting system consists of mainly three units. A large store of water in tanks either underground or on a roof top of the building called fire storage tanks, a specialized pumping station and a network of water pipes for fire hydrants and sprinklers along with fire alarm system.

                      Fire protecting system in buildings is implemented with four systems according to specific requirements. The systems are Fire Extinguishers System, Fire Hydrant System, Automatic Sprinkler System and Smoke Detector cum Automatic Fire Alarm System.

Fire Extinguisher System

                            A Fire extinguisher is an active fire protection device used to control small fires in emergency situations. It is not intended for use on out of control fire requiring the expertise of a fire department.

                             A fire extinguisher consist of a handheld cylindrical vessel containing carbon dioxide (CO2) a clean non-combustible, non-corrosive gas  which extinguishes fire primarily by lowering the level of oxygen gas helpful  in the burning of fire. Fire Extinguisher of other types available in the market are Water type, Mechanical foam type & ABC chemical powder fire extinguishers to use on specific locations. To control fire in moving vehicles portable Fire extinguisher are also used now a days.

                             The Fire Extinguisher can be used by pulling its pin, when pin is pulled released CO2 gas is applied on fire to control it.

Fire Hydrant System

                              This system is the backbone of all the fire protection system and is installed in every campus, to meet the demand of water to combat fire. A fire hydrant is a box type structure fitted on a vertical steel pipe with an outlet, close to which two fire hoses are stored. Internal hydrant is provided with double braided rubber hose wound on a drum connected to the hydrant riser through a ball valve.To meet the demand of water sufficient number of hydrants are installed on the main water line laid around the building.

                               During a fire, fire fighters open the hose so that water rushes out of the nozzle affecting sensors to detect the drop in pressure and trigger the fire pump to start pumping water at a tremendous flow rate to fight fire.

Automatic Sprinkler System

                         Automatic sprinklers have the unique properties of automatic detection, control and extinguishment of fire by automatically releasing water in required quantities over the designated areas. This is universally recognized as the most effective fire protection system for buildings and other structures.

                      In this system, Sprinklers are attached to a network of pipes installed just below the ceilings. Every sprinkler has a glass bulb full of some liquid. During a fire, the liquid in the bulb expands resulting water to spray from sprinkler on the fire to combat it.

                      The main difference between a Hydrant system & a Sprinkler system is that sprinkler will spray water automatically, whereas fire hydrant has to be operated manually by a trained fireman during a fire.

Smoke Detector & Automatic Fire Alarm System

                      A smoke detector is a device that detects smoke of a fire. Smoke detector raises fire alarm in the event of any type of smoke or fire in commercial, industrial and mass residential buildings,whereas in small residential houses,smoke detector gives a local audible alarm itself so that fire can be noticed& controlled well in time.

                      National building code recommends that every building should have sufficient exits to permit early and safe escape of public in case of a fire.  All exit should be free from obstructions and properly lit up. Minimum 20 feet wide open space should be provided around the building for free movement of fire-tenders for free movement of fire-tenders in case of some fire. Adequate number of portable fire extinguishers in good working condition along with some bags full of dry sand and water buckets should also be available near all suspected points of fire hazards to control fire.

                      Fire safety certificate is must for all public buildings.It is issued by fire officer of the concerned council after inspecting the fire protection system of the building.

                      Provision of fire protection system, use of approved ISI mark electric appliances & updated fire safety devices in buildings only can prevent fire hazards. The approach to fire resistive constructions also enables the building to become self-sustainable in case of a hazardous fire. Thereby it is of utmost need to inculcate various techniques to use fire protecting system in all buildings to avoid fire accidents in future.


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