Designing a water sprinkler system is easier and is less expensive. But this type of system may not be suitable for many places where water usage will lead to potential damage on property and equipment. With sensitive electronic equipment and materials in the building, water usage through the sprinklers might damage them causing heavy loss of property and data. Even water sensitive materials like paintings in a museum are at potential danger with water based fire protection system. Implementing any protection system within an existing building, especially in historical buildings, is complex in nature and challenging.
In many industrial, data storage, museums, libraries, surgical suites and other buildings with water sensitive equipment and materialist is better to employ clean agents, alternative to water, in the sprinkler systems. For these places the protection needs to be given to life, property, equipment, materials, data, archival and art collections. There is high risk of data and knowledge being lost when water based system is used. To minimize such losses and protect tangible, intangible property alternate clean agents (inert gases or halocarbon compounds or high velocity mist) are being employed where suitable. The use of inert gases not only minimizes spread of fire, but it is also possible to extinguish it at the core.
The inert gases when activated from the sprinkler will reach hidden or unseen areas where possibility of fire originating is high. Use of inert gases will ensure the fire is blocked and extinguished even before it is noticed. With nature of non-conductive or non-corrosive property, these are good alternative for sensitive equipment buildings. The use of these agents does not cause any environmental hazard or impact such as ozone depletion, making these agentsenvironment friendly. Post fire incident cost is reduced to minimum, valuable property and data will be safe from any damages occurring due to fire or clean agents.
Apart from choosing the clean agents to be used in sprinklers, the historical buildings need to be protected. There is high possibility of the building getting damaged due to fire. Old architecture adopted can lead to spread of fire easily and quickly. Adopting modern methods of protecting the walls, ceilings, doors, windows and floor with fire protective agents will help in reducing damage caused by fire. Air suppression system through air suspension ducts can be employed to act as a blockage for spreading fire, allowing enough time for people to escape the building. Active and passive protection systems are required for the buildings to ensure there is overall protection to the building, property and lives.
With precautionary steps damages due to fire incidents can be minimized. The damage and restoration management costs will become higher when proper, suitable fire protection system is not adopted. Use of environment friendly agents will ensure the depletion and degrading of property due to use of these agents will be reduced. Incorporating such systems in historical buildings, museums and libraries will ensure maximum protection is given against fire. More of active techniques need to be employed in old buildings to increase fire protection within these buildings.