Assessment On Firefighting Systems In Commercial Building
In a process of combustion, fire is a rapid oxidation of material. The basic components of fire are oxygen, fuel and heat. The Oxford Dictionary of Current English defines fire as a process in which substances combine chemically with oxygen from the air and typically give out bright light, heat, and smoke; combustion or burning. Fire-fighting system is a system where a combination of a large water storage, specialise water pump system and a large network of piping consist of different type of equipment. The functions and purposes of fire-fighting system can be vary depending on condition and places but the most common is to prevent fire related accidents. In this paper will focus on active firefighting system only. The active firefighting system functions as to protect life, to protect property and to ensure fire cannot be happened.
Active fire-fighting system is a process of protecting buildings, property and more important life from fire with methods that use the action of moving parts. This system can be operated manually or automatically but they still require movement or action in order to work and function (Poon, 2013). The function of active fire-fighting system is to slow down the progress of fire when spreading, to extinguish or control fire, to detect of notify the present of fire, to prevent domino effects and most importantly is to save life and property.
The (Oxford Dictionary of Current English defines maintenance as the action of keeping something in the same state or in good condition. Maintenance should be applied to decrease the cost of repairing of the component. So when fire outbreak happened, the most useful tools during this fire break is fire-fighting equipment such as fire sprinkler, fire extinguisher, smoke detector and others. Maintenance is an important organizational function which later will support the safety and comfort efficiency of a company. . There are two types of maintenance which are preventive maintenance and corrective maintenance.
Active firefighting system
Active Fire Protection is a group of systems that require some amount of action or motion in order to work efficiently in the event of a fire. This system can be operated manually or automatically but they still require movement or action in order to work and function. The role of active fire protection within the fire containment process is to detect, alert about, and seek to eliminate the fire hazard. Active firefighting system includes fire sprinkler, fire extinguisher, hose reel, smoke and heat detector. The advantages of active firefighting system are can avoid fire spreading, improve accessibility of fire site and better protect infrastructure.
Sprinklers are the most reliable method available for controlling building fires. Due to the cooling effect by water spray and drag force produced by the water droplets, sprinkler spray can lead to the loss of stability of the stratified smoke layer. A sprinkler is a nozzle attached to a network of pipes, and installed just below the ceiling of a room or space. Every sprinkler has a small glass bulb with a liquid in it and function as blocking the flow of water. In a fire, the liquid in the bulb will become hot then expand and shatter the glass bulb, removing the obstacles and water will spray from the sprinkler. There are 4 types of fire sprinklers:
Pre-action fire sprinkler system are filled with air and water are allowed to pass through when the smoke detector alarm goes off. It requires two triggers to start fire flow. It can be set to prevent water from flowing in case of a false alarm. It prevent from other equipment from getting wet and damage.
This type of sprinkler requires smoke or heat detector like pre-action system. It has open nozzles that can be use when hazard present. Deluge fire sprinkler is very efficient when flammable liquids spread across the floor of buildings. Buildings such as industrial parks and buildings with many tanks have this type of fire sprinkler installed.
Dry pipe is a bit similar to pre-action system as they use the same pressurized air in the pipe. This causes a minute delay in water discharge but very ideal for low temperature buildings. It prevent the pipes to freeze during winter. These fire sprinkler has fast opening tool to get rid of the air and speed the water flow.
Wet pipe sprinkler constantly has water in the pipe. This allows for a faster reaction to a fire and this type can be finding in any type of building and very common to be installed in buildings. Type of building that use these type of sprinkler is commonly high-rise building with a few floors. This sprinkler system is low in maintenance and cost efficient.
Fire extinguishers are provided for a 'first attack' firefighting measure, generally undertaken by the occupants of the building before the fire service arrives. It is important that occupants are familiar with which extinguisher type to use on which fire. Most fires start as a small fire and may be extinguished if the correct type and amount of extinguishing agent is applied whilst the fire is small and controllable
Smoke and heat detector
Smoke detectors are used to safeguard people as well as property by sounding an alarm much before a fire develops and spreads. A smoke detector is triggered when it detects the presence of soot in the air and warns of smoke in the area. Smoke detectors work on photoelectric and ionization technologies
- Inside the smoke alarm, there is an LED light that sends a beam of light in a straight line across the chamber. Inside the chamber there is photosensor that detects light.
- When smoke enters the detector, the smoke particles interrupt the light beam, scattering it in many directions. Some of the LED light scatters toward the light sensor. When the light beams hit the sensor, the alarm will go off.
- When batteries is low, it will sound different as chirping sound so that you will know it is time to get new batteries.
- Inside the smoke alarm, there are two tiny metal plates called electrodes that are connect to a battery.
- Americium-241 converts air molecules into positive and negative ions. Because of opposites attract, this movement creates a complete circuit or path of electricity.
- As smoke enter the detector, the ions bond with smoke breaking the path of electricity.
- When flow of electricity is reduced, the alarm goes off. A heat detector is activated and sounds an alarm when it senses a change in the ambient temperature. The heat detector is triggered when there is a rise in temperature that is beyond a pre-set level. However, heat detectors cannot detect smoke. Heat detectors employ rate-of-rise heat detector and fixed-temperature heat detector for their working.
Fire hose reel
Fire hose reels located in buildings can be used by building occupants to fight fire, providing it is safe to do so. They are located to provide a reasonably accessible and controlled supply of water to combat a potential fire risk, especially where building occupants are trapped and cannot escape to an emergency exit. They are connected to the mains water supply or fire systems, and are either wall-mounted or in cabinets.
In most countries, maintenance management is a major activity. The (Oxford Dictionary of Current English defines maintenance as the action of keeping something in the same state or in good condition. Maintenance should be applied to decrease the cost of repairing of the component. Maintenance is an important organizational function which later will support the safety and comfort efficiency of a company. There are two types of maintenance which are preventive maintenance and corrective maintenance.
Preventive maintenance usually used to overcome the limitation of corrective maintenance. It is carried out to reduce the probability of failure and avoid sudden failure that may occur. It can be defined as a schedule of action at the prevention of failures and breakdowns on the equipment and elements. Preventive maintenance target is to prevent the failures and breakdown on equipment before it occurs and this program have been design to preserve equipment reliability by replacing the component before they actually failed. The activities of the preventive maintenance are includes equipment check and usually workers can easily record equipment deterioration so they will know what to replace and where the location of the parts before the equipment cause system failure.
Corrective maintenance program means the repair or replacements of the components that have been identified already broken and failed in their function. It will be maintained until it is restored to its originality function again. The activities on corrective maintenance are diagnosing the failed part of the system in building and determine the failure. After that, a comprehensive preventive maintenance should be done to repair the failure and determine the suitable equipments for maintenance so that the replacing work on the part of failure will be done most easily. Then, the maintenance worker must verify whether the system or failed part has being fully repair and operates again.
Preventive measure on active firefighting system
Active fire protection are very important in high rise building because it will give effective ways when protecting life and property in the building from the fire. Active fire protection also can avoid and reduce the time for fire to spread all the space in the building. The system no need to active manually because it active automatically when detect fire through the sensor. That why the maintenance on active fire protection is very important, because that system one of the important system required in the firefighting system that should have been in the high rise building. The active fire protection need to be inspected, tested and maintained to ensure the functionality of the system can provide a good service when fire occur and can take action as fast as possible. According to article fire sprinkler inspection by OC/Fire Sprinkler Insp., there is different between inspection, a test and maintenance. An inspection is a visual examination to verify the operation condition and free from any damage that maybe can make water sprinkler cannot perform as usually. A test is a procedure to testing the system and determine the status of the water sprinkler by physical check (hands-on). Lastly, the maintenance is work to replace or to keep the equipment operation like usually.