A gaseous fire suppression system tackles the oxygen levels contributing to a fire. Through either an automatic detection system, or manual operation this suppression system is activated and fire suppressing gases are released in the the required area.
These suppressants will reduce oxygen levels below 15% – eliminating the possibility of combustion – yet maintain the level above 12% – allowing occupants to vacate the premises safely.
Perhaps the most widely-recognised method of fire suppression is the conventional sprinkler system. A recent report suggested that over 40 million sprinkler heads are fitted worldwide every year, with over 99% of fires controlled by sprinklers alone.
Sprinkler systems have a long history, with the first being fitted in the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane way back in 1812.
The science of a sprinkler system is relatively straightforward – once activated, they soak the area they are protecting and inert the fuel element of the fire, halting the burning and spreading.
Owing to this drenching, a sprinkler system is often not the best solution for fire suppression. The water cause more damage than the fire itself in some instances, and in areas such as server rooms other methods are preferred.