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64 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
• Fire prevention and building codes
IFC chapter 903, IBC chapter 903, NFPA 13 and 72 for requirements

• Fire sprinkler systems are effective in
controlling fires 96% of the time

• A fire detection system recognizes when a fire is occurring and activates the fire alarm system(4)

o Alerts occupants
o May alert fire department
o May automatically activate fire suppression systems
o Secondary purpose is to conserve property

Residential Fire Alarm Systems

• Single station smoke alarm most common types of residential alarm system
• Includes both a smoke detection device and an audible alarm
• Smoke alarms can be battery powered or hard wired to a 110 volt electrical system

• Up to date codes require new homes to have a smoke alarm in every bedroom and on every floor level
• Many home fire alarm systems are part of security systems

Ionization VS Photoelectric Smoke Detectors

• Ionization detectors are triggered by the invisible products of combustion
• Photoelectric detectors are triggered by the visible products of combustion

• Three basic components in a fire alarm system:

o Alarm initiation device
o Alarm notification device
o Control panel

Fire Alarm System Control Panels

• Serves as the brain of the system
• Manages and monitors the proper operation of the system
• Can indicate the source of an alarm
• Also manages primary power supply and provides backup power supply for the system
• May perform additional functions, and may interface with other systems and facilities
• Vary greatly depending on age of system and manufacturer
• Used to silence the alarm and reset the system
• Many buildings have an additional display panel, called a remote annunciator in a separate location near the main entry way or lobby is a good location for annunciator panels
• A battery in the fire alarm control panel will automatically activate when the external power is interrupted

Alarm Initiating Devices

• Components that activate a fire alarm system
• Manual initiation devices require human activation
• Automatic devices function without human intervention

Manual Initiation Devices

• Designed so that building occupants can activate the fire alarm system
• Primary manual initiation device is the manual fire alarm box, or manual pull station
• Once activated should stay in the activated position until it is reset

Automatic Initiating Devices

• Designed to function without human intervention
• Can use several different types of detectors
o Some detectors activated by smoke or by invisible products of combustion
o Others react to heat, light produced by an open flame, or specific gases

Smoke Detectors

• Designed to sense the presence of smoke
• Commonly found in school, hospital, business, and commercial occupancies with fire alarm systems
• Most common are ionization and photoelectric detectors

Heat Detectors

• Can provide property protection, but cannot provide reliable life safety protection
• Generally used in situations where smoke alarms cannot be used
• Often installed in unheated areas
• Generally very reliable and less prone to false alarms that smoke detectors

Fixed Temperature Heat Detectors

• Designed to operate at a preset temperature
• Usually use a metal alloy that will melt at the preset temperature

Rate of Rise Detectors

• Will activate if the temperature of the surrounding air rises more than a set amount in a given period of time
• Most rate of rise heat detectors are self monitoring
• Generally respond faster to most fires than fixed temperature heat detectors

Line Heat Detectors

• Use wires or a sealed tube to sense heat
• One type has two wires inside, separated by an insulating material
• Another types measures changes in the electrical resistance of a single wire as it heats up
• The tube type line heat detector has a sealed metal tube filled with air or a nonflammable gas

Flame Detectors

• Specialized devices that detect the electromagnetic light waves produced by a flame (infrared or ultraviolet)
• Typically found in places where early detection and rapid reaction to a fire is critical
• Complicated and expensive
• Arc welding can cause accidental activation of ultraviolet flame detectors

Gas Detectors

• Calibrated to detect the presence of a specific gas
• Need regular calibration
• Usually found only in specific commercial or industrial applications
• Gases released by a fire that a detector would sense are carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen fluoride, and hydrogen sulfide

Air Sampling Devices

• Continuously capture air samples and measure the concentrations of specific gases or products of combustion

Alarm Initiation by Fire Suppression Systems

• System alerts building occupants and the fire department to a possible fire
• Water flow alarm ensures that someone is aware water is flowing from a sprinkler head or when standpipe valve is opened

• Malicious false alarms

o Caused by individuals who deliberately activate a fire alarm when there is no fire

• Unwanted alarms

o Occur when an alarm system is activated by a condition that is not really an emergency

• Nuisance alarms

o Caused by improper functioning of an alarm system or one of its components

Alarm Notification Appliances

• Produce an audible signal when fire alarm is activated
• Some signals play a recorded announcement in conjunction with the temporal 3 pattern
• Many new systems incorporate visual notification devices

Other Fire Alarm Functions

• May also control other building functions, such as air handling systems, fire doors, and elevators
• Responding fire personnel must understand which building functions are being controlled by the fire alarm

Fire Alarm Annunciation Systems

• Almost all alarm systems are now zoned to some extent
• In a coded system, zone is identified not only at alarm control panel but also through audio notification device
• Systems can be broken down into four categories: non-coded alarm, zoned non-coded alarm, zoned coded alarm, and master-coded alarm

Non-Coded Alarm System

• Control panel has no information indicating where in the building the fire alarm was activated
• Typically sounds a bell or horn
• Fire department personnel must search the entire building to find which initiation device was activated

Zoned Non-Coded Alarm System

• Most common type of system, particularly in newer buildings
• Building divided into multiple zones, often by floor or by wing

• Alarm control panel indicates in which zone the activated device is located

Zone Coded Alarm

• In addition to having all the features of a zoned alarm system, also indicated which zone has been activated over the announcement system
• Hospitals often use this type of system

Master-Coded Alarm

• Audible notification devices for fire alarms also are used for other purposes
• Most of these systems have been replaced by modern speaker systems that use the temporal 3 pattern fire alarm signal and have public address capabilities

• Local alarm system

o Does not notify the fire department
o The alarm sounds only in the building to notify the occupants

• Remote station system

o Sends signal directly to fire department or to another monitoring location via a telephone line or a radio signal

• Auxiliary system

o Building’s fire alarm system is tied into a master alarm box located outside

• Proprietary system

o Building’s alarms connected directly to monitoring site owned and operated by building owner

• Central station

o Third party off site monitoring facility that monitors multiple alarm systems
o An activated alarm transmits a signal to the central station by telephone or radio
o Personnel at the central station then notify the appropriate fire department of the fire alarm

Fire Suppression Systems

• Include automatic sprinkler systems, standpipe systems, and specialized extinguishing systems such as dry chemical systems

• Understanding how these systems work is important because they can affect fire behavior

Automatic Sprinkler Systems

• One of the major advantages of a sprinkler system is that is can act a fire detection system and a fire suppression system
• Closed valves inadequate water supply, blocked heads, fire load changes, partial protection and poor maintenance are reasons systems fail
• Sprinkler system define as- a system of pipes, valves, water, and heads, which operate automatically to control or extinguish fire, initiate an alarm, save lives and property

• Four major components: auto sprinkler systems

o Automatic sprinkler heads
o Piping
o Control valves
o A water supply, which may or may not include a fire pump

Automatic Sprinkler Heads

• The working ends of a sprinkler system
• Composed of:
o A body, which includes the orifice
o A release mechanism that holds a cap in place over the orifice
o A deflector that directs the water in a spray pattern

Fusible Link Sprinkler Heads

• Use a metal alloy, such as solder that melts at a specific temperature
o Alloy links two other pieces of metal that keep the cap in place
o When designated operating temperature is reached, solder melts and the link breaks, releasing the cap

Frangible Bulb Sprinkler Heads

• Use a glass bulb filled with glycerin or alcohol to hold the cap in place
• As bulb is heated liquid absorbs the air bubble and expands until it breaks the glass, releasing the cap

Chemical Pellet Sprinkler Heads

• Use a plunger mechanism and a small pellet to hold the cap in place
• Pellet will liquefy at a preset temperature
• When pellet melts, liquid compresses the plunger, releasing the cap and allowing water to flow

Special Sprinkler Heads

• Designed for special applications
o covering large areas
o discharging the water in extra large droplets
• ESFR sprinkler heads have improved heat collectors to speed up response and ensure rapid release

Deluge Sprinkler Heads

• Easily identifiable, because they have no cap or release mechanism
• Orifice is always open
• Only used in deluge sprinkler systems
• Deluge systems are designed to protect extra hazardous occupancies

Temperature Ratings

• Typical rating for sprinkler heads in a light hazard occupancy would be 165 degrees F
• Rating should be stamped on the body of the sprinkler head
• Temperature rating must match the anticipated ambient air temperatures
• Spare heads that match those used in the system should always be available on site
• Uncolored or black sprinkler heads have an operating temperature 135-170 degrees F

Sprinkler Piping

• Network of pipes that delivers water to sprinkler heads
• Includes main water supply lines, risers, feeder lines, and branch lines
• Usually made of steel
• Plastic pipes sometimes used in residential systems


• A sprinkler system includes several different valves such as:
o Main water supply control valve

o Alarm valve
o Other, smaller valves used for testing and service
o All of the valves play a critical role in the design and function of the system

Water Supplies

• Water may come from municipal water system, on site storage tanks, or static water sources
• Water supply must be able to handle demand of the sprinkler system, as well as the needs of the fire department
• Preferred water source for a sprinkler system is a municipal water supply
• Retard chambers can be added to fire sprinkler system risers to help reduce false alarms due to momentary water surges

Fire Pumps

• Used when the water comes from a static source
• May also be used to boost the pressure in some sprinkler systems, particularly for tall buildings


• Allows the department’s engine to pump water into the sprinkler system
• Used as either a supplement or the main source of water

Water Flow Alarms

• Most systems incorporate a mechanical flow alarm called a water motor gong
• When system is activated and main alarm valve opens, water is fed through a pipe to a water powered gong located outside the building

• Wet sprinkler systems

o Most common and the lease expensive types of automatic sprinkler system
o Piping always filled with water
o As sprinkler head activates, water is immediately discharged onto the fire
o Major drawback: cannot be used in areas where temperatures drop below freezing

o Will also flow water if a sprinkler head is accidentally opened or a leak occurs in the piping

• Dry sprinkler systems

o Operate much like wet sprinkler systems, except that the pipes are filled with pressurized air instead of water, used in areas subject to freezing
o A dry pipe valve keeps water from entering the pipes until the air pressure is released

• Pre-action sprinkler systems

o Similar to a dry sprinkler system with on key difference
o A secondary device must be activated before water is released into the sprinkler piping
o When the system is filled with water, it functions as a wet sprinkler system

• Deluge sprinkler systems

o Water flows from all of the sprinkler heads as soon as the system is activated
o Does not have closed heads that open individually at the activation temperature; all of the heads are always open

Shutting Down Sprinkler Systems

• Order to shut down sprinkler system should come only from the IC
• In most cases, system can be shut down by closing main control valves such as one of the following: OS&Y, PIV, WPIV, or PIVA
• Placing a wooden wedge or a commercial sprinkler stop into the sprinkler head can quickly stop the flow of water
o This will not work on all types of heads

Residential Sprinkler Systems

• Relatively new, but many homes now being built include them
• Typically use smaller piping and sprinkler heads with smaller orifices and less water discharges

Standpipe Systems

• Network of pipes and outlets for fire hoses built into a structure to provide water for firefighting purposes
• Actual water flow depends on water supply, as well as on the condition of the piping system and fire pumps

• Flow restricted devices or pressure reducing valves often installed at outlets to limit pressure and flow

Water Supplies

• Wet standpipe systems in modern buildings are connected to a public water supply with an electric or diesel fire pump to provide additional pressure
• Most dry standpipe systems do not have a permanent connection to a water supply, so the FDC must be used to pump water into the system

Specialized Extinguishing Systems

• Specialized extinguishing systems are often used in areas where water would not be an acceptable extinguishing agent

Dry Chemical Extinguishing Systems

• Use the same types of finely powdered agents as dry chemical fire extinguishers
• Agent kept in self pressurized tanks or in tanks with an external cartridge of carbon dioxide or nitrogen that provides pressure when the system is activated

Wet Chemical Extinguishing Systems

• Used in most new commercial kitchens
• Use a proprietary liquid extinguishing agent
• Much more effective on vegetable oils than the dry chemicals used in older kitchen systems

Initiation Devices

• Fusible links are placed above the target hazard to activate extinguishing systems
• Manual discharge pull station is also provided so that workers can activate the system if they discover a fire

Clean Agent Extinguishing Systems

• Often installed in areas where computers or sensitive electronic equipment are used, or where valuable documents are stored
• Nonconductive and leave no residue

• Halogenated agents or carbon dioxide are generally used
• Operate by discharging a gaseous agent into the atmosphere at a concentration that will extinguish a fire
• If there is a fire, the clean agent system should be completely discharged before firefighters arrive
• Should be tied to building’s fire alarm system and indicated as a zone on the control panel
o Alerts firefighters they are responding to a situation where a clean agent has discharged

Carbon Dioxide Extinguishing Systems

• Designed to protect a single room or a series of rooms
• Should be connected to the building’s fire alarm system