Whether you manage a data center, power plant, or a museum, modern special hazard fire suppression systems may be your greatest ally. When you have a high‐value property that you want to protect, you will do whatever it takes to protect this investment. Yet what you are dealing with in terms of fire protection is called special hazards. Special hazards require a more specialized degree of protection simply due to the nature of the property.
First, understanding special hazards
In order to protect against special hazards, you must first understand the concept of what exactly a special hazard is. This includes everything from a single work of priceless art, to an entire data center filled with expensive and sensitive computer equipment. In an of itself, these unique situations require specialized fire protection, thus the concept of a special hazard.
Real‐world examples of ideal environments for modern fire suppression include:
- Data centers
- Pharmaceutical manufacturing
- Power plants
- Aircraft hangars
- Chemical plants
Generally, special hazard fire suppression is used in environments where water would not be an ideal suppression agent. For example, if used in data center, extensive damage would be caused by spraying water onto sensitive computer equipment. Or in the case of a chemical plant, water may actually cause the fire to spread. While traditional sprinkler systems may be required per local building code, the intent is for the special hazard system to extinguish a fire before they are required to activate.
Identifying the ideal system
In order to fully protect a property, it’s essential to implement a combination of fire detection and extinguishing systems. Specialty fire detection systems use a variety of methods to identify a fire before it becomes large enough to cause damage. This might include air sampling units, optical smoke sensors, or even optical fire sensors, which offer specialized detection methods to identify a fire in environments where traditional methods wouldn’t be effective.
In the event that there is an actual fire, a suppression agent is required. Modern special hazards fire extinguishing agents include CO2, eco‐friendly foam, and the tried‐and‐true method of water mist. Ultimately, identifying the ideal suppression agent requires analysis of the environment to be protected. Each building is unique, and the work performed in that building plays a major role in the fire threat faced within. For example, a plant that manufactures pharmaceuticals will typically face a very different type of threat than a data center will, and the ideal system to protect each environment will be significantly different.