What Is A Fire Suppression System?

What is a fire suppression system, and how does it work? In short, it’s your business’ first line of defence against fire, controlling or preventing the spread by delivering a fire suppression agent (such as water, fire-fighting foam, or a chemical agent). Therefore, it goes without saying that choosing the right system is crucial.

Here, we provide a 101 on fire suppression systems; including what they are, how they work, different types, and key considerations when selecting the right one for your business.


What is a fire suppression system?

A fire suppression system is a set of integrated components designed to detect, control, and suppress fires automatically. It’s a crucial safety measure used in buildings, facilities, and vehicles to minimise the risk of fire-related damage and protect lives. The main purpose of a fire suppression system is to quickly and effectively suppress fires or control their spread until emergency responders arrive.


How does a fire suppression system work?

A fire suppression system typically consists of five key elements: detectors, an alarm system, suppression agents, activation mechanisms, and a control panel. Whether static or mobile assets or equipment, our systems can be tailored to specific sectors and applications.

Fire suppression systems employ various detectors, including smoke detectors, heat detectors, or flame detectors to sense the presence of a fire. When a fire is detected, the control panel activates an alarm to alert people to the fire emergency, and triggers the release of the selected fire suppression agent to the affected area. This can be achieved through various mechanisms, such as sprinklers, deluge systems, gas cylinders, or overhead nozzles. The control panel may also provide manual controls for system testing and maintenance.


Which type of fire suppression system is typically the safest for humans?

The type of fire suppression system considered safest for humans depends on various factors, including the specific environment, potential fire risks, and presence of occupants. These factors also play a large role in determining which will be the most effective and suitable type of system for your business.

Clean agent fire suppression systems

Specialised gases or chemicals are used to suppress fires. Examples of clean agents include inert gases like nitrogen or argon, as well as chemical agents. These systems are commonly used in areas where water-based fire suppression systems may cause damage to sensitive equipment or valuable assets, such as electrical cabinets. Clean agent systems are considered safe for humans as the agents used are designed to be non-toxic and non-residual. However, proper design and installation are crucial to ensure adequate ventilation and prevent potential oxygen depletion.

Foam fire suppression systems

These systems are often used in areas where flammable liquids are present, such as fuel storage areas or chemical processing facilities. The foam acts as a barrier, preventing the release of flammable vapours and suppressing the fire. Our fire suppression systems utilise Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), which also provides cooling to super heater components. While foam is generally safe for humans, there may be considerations regarding its impact on visibility and potential slip hazards. Adequate training and evacuation plans should be in place to ensure the safety of occupants in case of activation.


What is the Ansul fire suppression system?

Ansul is a well-known brand and manufacturer of fire suppression systems. The Ansul fire suppression system uses a specialised wet chemical extinguishing agent known as LVS (Liquid Vehicle System). This is designed to quickly cool down the fire, form a barrier to prevent re-ignition, and coat the surfaces to mitigate the risk of spreading flames.Strategically placed nozzles and a distribution system effectively delivers LVS to the protected areas.

Ardent is an Ansul Authorised Distributor, and a specialist in the specification, installation, servicing and maintenance of Ansul A-101 and Ansul LVA heavy vehicle fire suppression systems. From mining excavators to material handlers, we’ve installed Ansul fire suppression systems on over 6,000 items of heavy mobile plant.


Want some help deciding which fire suppression system is right for your business? Get in touch with our expert team.