Waterless Fire Suppression Systems


Water Sprinkler Systems Can Hurt Your Business More Than Help

Most people falsely believe that having water sprinklers in the facilities will reduce the economic damage caused by a fire. What most people don’t realize is that by the time the sprinkler system turns on, the fire may have already developed to a substantial level. But what is worse is the damage the water causes to your business – sometimes more than the fire itself.

In today’s business, technology is everywhere. Fax machines, computer file and Internet servers, personal computers and laptops, phone systems, cell phones, PDAs, and the list goes on. Most of which do not take kindly to water. According to a leading risk management consultant, the average loss for companies protected with a sprinkler system is nearly six times that of companies protected by “waterless” fire systems. It’s not just the physical damage, loss of irreplaceable data or damaged paper records; it’s also the loss of time –for your operations, your production, and your customers. In fact, statistics show that the majority of businesses that experience a major fire and fire-related downtime are out of business within three years. Some never reopen at all. Now when you think about protecting your business with water sprinklers, think how long it will take to get back up and running and at what cost!

The key to keeping losses at a minimum…is speed. Speed to suppress the fire, and speed for cleanup.

Automatic fire suppression systems help fight the most common sources of fires, knocking them out fast and with minimum disruption to your business.

Click your industry link below to learn more about the strategic areas in your business that should have a “waterless” fire suppression system instead of, or in addition to, water sprinklers.

Industrial/Manufacturing | Restaurants | Healthcare | Communication Centers | Wholesale/Distribution | Professional Services | Banking Centers | Electric/Electrical Centers | Retail Establishments | Services/Offices | Cultural/Museums | Transportation

How Illinois Fire & Safety Can Help Protect Your Business

Automatic “waterless” fire suppression systems help fight the most common sources of fires, knocking them out fast and with minimum disruption to your business. So the real decision is in whom do you trust to provide fire equipment and to service and to maintain these important pieces of equipment? How do you choose?

We believe that there are four major factors that differentiate a good service provider and a, well, not so good service provider:

  1. Experience
  2. Expertise
  3. Customer Service
  4. Responsiveness

You may be surprised that we did not include “price” on our list. Very simply, over the life of the systems, the general maintenance costs pennies per day for most providers. The cost factor is insignificant relative to the cost of poor service resulting in poor fire protection –property damage and lost revenue associated with larger fires not controlled by nonexistent or poorly maintained automatic fire suppression systems.

Experience: Illinois Fire & Safety Company is a family-owned company with more than 50 years of direct experience. We have helped protect thousands and thousands of companies in northern Illinois and, each year, our fire suppression systems quickly extinguish many potentially devastating fires – ensuring business operations continue with minimal interruption and downtime.

Expertise: We train the Insurance and City Fire inspectors. Many cities have chosen Illinois Fire & Safety to train their Fire Inspectors on how to inspect fire equipment. Our President was appointed by the Illinois State Fire Marshal to serve on his fire equipment advisory board. We are state licensed, bonded, and insured.

We are also the choice for some of the largest companies in the world. Caterpillar, the world’s largest heavy equipment company, chose us to supply and install fire suppression systems on some of their off-road equipment. And Baxter Labs selected us to protect their corporate kitchens and data archive rooms. We know what we are doing and have served thousands of customers.

Customer Service: We understand that we have an obligation to provide quality service at a fair price while minimizing the disruption to your business and its people. We keep our promises and our appointments. We also understand the need to work around your schedule and not ours.

Responsiveness: In the case of a fire or other discharge of your fire equipment, you need a company that will respond quickly. Illinois Fire & Safety offers a 2-hour response time guarantee and 24-hour emergency service. We’ll be there when you need us.

3 Essential Elements of Fire:

  • Combustible Material
  • Sufficient Oxygen
  • Sufficient Heat for Ignition and Continued Burning

Without any one of these three elements, a fire cannot exist. Removing one or more of them is the basic premise behind fire suppression systems. For example, water extracts the heat from a fire. Foam extracts heat and/or keeps away the oxygen, whereas dry chemical powder interrupts the chain reaction within the flames. Extinguishing gasses either displace the oxygen or react in a way to interrupt the chain reaction within the flames (depending on the type of gas).

3 Main Types of Fire Suppression Systems:

  1. Waterless fire systems
  2. Fire sprinkler systems (wet, dry, pre-action, and deluge)
  3. Foam fire systems

Waterless Fire Systems

Wet Chemical Systems

Wet chemical systems are designed for the protection of commercial cooking areas including exhaust hoods, ducts, plenums, and cooking surfaces. The wet chemical agent is extremely effective at quick flame knockdown, fast suppression, and re-ignition prevention.

Dry Chemical Systems

The dry chemical is well known for its use in portable extinguishers.The same chemicals, with certain special additives, are used, as well, in stationary fire systems. A variety of dry chemical agents with their own fire unique extinguishing characteristics are available to use in systems. Careful matching of the extinguishing agent to the type of fire hazard requiring protection will ensure an effective fire system.

Gaseous Extinguishing Systems

Extinguishing gasses work to suppress fires by either displacing the oxygen or chemically interrupting the chain reaction within the flames (depending on the type of gas). This is naturally not valid for materials containing their own oxygen in their chemical structure or materials which react with combustion without needing oxygen to maintain the heat necessary for the reaction.

There are numerous gasses and gas mixtures/blendings that can be used for fire suppression. Some are more environmentally friendly than others, while some are more effective on certain types of fires than others. Illinois Fire & Safety can help you determine which fire suppression agent is best for your particular fire concern.


Fire Sprinkler Systems

A water fire extinguishing sprinkler system is an automatic fire extinguishing or suppressing system. It consists of a secure water supply, valves, pipes (containing pressurized extinguishing agent) and sprinklers. The sprinkler heads are strategically distributed at the ceiling or other endangered places within locations that need protection.

The sprinklers contain a seal. These sealing elements prevent water flow until, due to fire, a design temperature is exceeded at one or more individual sprinkler heads and the sprinkler bulb bursts. Each sprinkler activates independently when the predetermined heat level is reached and distributes the water over the fire source. Since each sprinkler is independently sealed, the system only activates where the fire occurs. The sensor in the system detects the flow of water and emits an alarm signal.

Dry pipe sprinkler systems are initially filled with compressed air above the valve station. The alarm valve opens and releases water in the pipe system in case of a pressure drop due to a sprinkler head opening. This type of system is applicable to areas with frost hazard or permanent temperatures near to or below 32∞F.

Preaction sprinkler systems – a dry pipe sprinkler system, where two actions are required to open the valve station and herewith the waterway; one action is a water lock release triggered by a separate electronic detection system, the other action is the selective sprinkler release at design temperature caused by fire; these systems are for applications that are sensitive to water damage.

Fast-release dry pipe sprinkler systems have characteristics similar to the preaction systems, but provide a faster water discharge.

Water deluge systems (Water Spray Systems) contain open nozzles (instead of sealed sprinklers) strategically distributed with a pipe system connected to an alarm valve, which controls the water supply, so water is discharged over the whole protected area simultaneously. The alarm valve must be actuated by separate means, either manually or via a detection system.


Foam Fire Systems

Foam is mostly produced with water, special detergents and air (air foam), but can also be generated in a chemical way (chemical foam). A system consists generally of a water supply, a tank with foam compound (concentrate), admixing armature, air and a foaming device. Foam, which is expanded equal or less than 1 to 20 is called heavy foam and mostly used where it is necessary to quickly cover liquid surfaces or similar surfaces. Expansion ratios from 20 to 200 produce a medium foam. The application can be as the heavy foam (at places where no draft or wind forces hinder the spreading of the foam). The water contents of this foam are considerably lower and cause less damage to the protected, but not burning materials. The foam produced at expansion ratios from 200 to 1000 is high expansion foam and mostly use to fill large volumes in an acceptable short time. The water content is very low. The disadvantage is that the visibility in filled areas is virtually zero, making additional firefighting ineffective.

Illinois Fire & Safety Company is a leading designer, installation and service company for all types of fire suppression systems. Give us a call today and let our professionals evaluate your fire protection needs. 1-888-ILLFIRE.

NICET certification - waterless fire systems