October 03 2023 0Comment

What is a Fire Suppression System and How Does It Work

In 2020 alone, the National Environment Agency (NEA) reported over 1,000 fires, with 13 fatalities and 87 injuries. No wonder more people are looking into fire suppression systems as an essential fire-prevention solution for their homes and properties. In addition, the push for Solar power has resulted in numerous power generation panels all over the country with batteries and transformers that need to be protected.

Today, many of the commercial buildings in Singapore are equipped with automatic fire suppression systems, which include a wide range of devices such as kitchen hood fire suppression systems, fire suppression systems by Carbon Dioxide (gaseous fire suppression), condensed aerosol fire suppression, and the ubiquitous fire sprinklers. All of these devices can work without any human intervention. They can extinguish a fire during its early stages. They work to minimise the loss of human lives and property damage.

How A Fire Suppression System Works

Fire suppression systems are designed to extinguish, control, or prevent the spread of fire with specific chemical compounds. Many different types of suppression systems for various applications are being used today. Each system works differently to suppress fires, but they all aim to eliminate heat, oxygen, or fuel to put out the fire.

While fire suppression and sprinkler systems are designed to control or extinguish fires, they work differently. Fire sprinkler systems are a system of sprinklers that release water to control and extinguish fires. These systems are activated by heat or smoke (or both). Water is an effective or the most effective fire suppression agent for many types of fires. 


Types Of Fire Suppression Systems 


Each system works differently to suppress fires, but they all aim to eliminate heat, oxygen, or fuel to put out the fire. Choosing the correct type of fire suppression system for your specific needs is essential to ensure the safety of your occupants and property.

CLEAN AGENT FIRE SUPPRESSION SYSTEMS are safe, clean, and environmentally friendly. They use either a chemical or inert gas to suppress a fire at the inception stage before it can grow. They effectively extinguish Class A, B, and C fires. The clean agent is stored in cylinders, housed away from the building where the fire suppression system is physically installed. 

Upon detecting fire or heat, an electrical signal is sent to the control unit, which releases the gas through the pipeline. The gas is released into every room from nozzles fitted to the pipeline, and the fire is diffused before it can cause any damage. Most clean agent fire suppression systems reach extinguishing concentration levels in 10 seconds or less, making them highly efficient in suppressing a fire before it can spread.

CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2) SUPPRESSION SYSTEMS are highly effective at suppressing fires. Still, the CO2 agent also poses a health risk compared to other agents. For this reason, CO2 fire suppression systems are most often found in non-occupied environments. CO2 works well as a fire suppressant because it works quickly to extinguish a fire. It is also colourless, odourless, electrically non-conductive, and leaves no residue. 

When a fire is detected, the CO2 suppression system will activate and discharge a blanket of CO2 into the area where the fire is present. The CO2 displaces the oxygen in the environment, which will cause the fire to be extinguished. Fire needs oxygen to continue burning, and when the oxygen is being displaced, the fire cannot continue to burn.

CHEMICAL FOAM SUPPRESSION SYSTEMS extinguish a fire by separating the fuel from the oxygen. These systems “cool the fire and coat the fuel that the fire is consuming to prevent contact with oxygen and reduce combustion ability.” To do this, the extinguishing agent (the foam) smothers or blankets the surface of the fuel. The water content of the foam then cools the fuel and the area of foam covering the fuel to prevent reignition via flammable vapours. 

Foam suppression systems require a lot of water, so access to an extensive water supply must be provided. Cleanup after a foam suppression system discharges can be quite a task.

WATER-BASED FIRE SUPPRESSION SYSTEMS are one of the most common fire protection systems and use water to knock out fires. The system detects the fire and sprays a water mist or heavier water level to extinguish the fire. The most significant advantages are that it’s inexpensive in comparison to other types and easy to replace. Still, it can also cause severe water damage and should not be used around electronics. Wet pipe sprinklers, wet pipe antifreeze, dry pipe, pre-action, deluge, and electronics are some types of fire sprinkler systems available.

INERT GAS SUPPRESSION SYSTEMS use a mixture of gases to suppress fires. The gases used in these systems are non-toxic, non-conductive, and non-corrosive, making them safe for use in occupied spaces. The gases used in these systems are typically argon, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. 

The system detects the fire and releases the gas mixture into the protected space, which displaces the oxygen and suppresses the fire. Inert gas suppression systems are commonly used in data centres, museums, and other areas where water could cause significant damage.


Fire Suppression Systems In Singapore

In Singapore, commercial kitchens need an approved wet chemical-based kitchen hood fire suppression system. Most commercial kitchen proprietors trust kitchen hood suppliers to provide fire suppression systems when equipping their spaces with appliances like burners, hobs, grills, ovens, and more. 

However, selecting and installing the right kitchen hood fire suppression system is straightforward with the proper guidelines. Most of these systems are pre-engineered, simplifying the design and selection process. Avoid systems that necessitate complex engineering designs.

Ensure PSB or SETSCO lists your chosen system or brand in the context of Singapore, as inspections from fire authorities, such as SCDF, might occur. Opt for a system that accommodates a wide range of equipment, allowing for cost savings. For your safety and convenience, choose an installer with a proven track record for reliable system installation. 

At Hart Engineering, our expertise ensures you receive top-tier advice and design guidelines to simplify your selection process. Our Fire Suppression Systems are competitively priced, making it economical to design and install while offering maximum protection for all your facilities. 

For inquiries, contact us at Tel: 62912611 or info@hart.sg.


Hart Engineering Pte Ltd was established in 1971 and has a span of five decades. It has expanded its Business from being an Engineering Fire contractor in Singapore to a Specialist Supplier, Manufacturer and Contractor in the Field of Fire Protection Systems, Access Flooring Systems, Industrial Fire and Safety and Rescue Products, Building, Air Conditioning Accessories and Products, Fire Rated Doors, Air Grilles, Smoke and Fire Dampers, Smoke Control Products and System.