What Is Gas Suppression?
Gaseous Fire Suppression or Clean Agent fire suppression are terms to describe gases used to extinguish fires. Typically, gaseous agents work in one of two ways, the first is to inert the atmosphere reducing oxygen levels to a level that will no longer sustain combustion, the second is to react chemically with the fire absorbing heat and causing the chain reaction of combustion to break down.
Gas suppression systems are typically used to protect three dimensional enclosures containing high value assets that are vital for business continuity, and assets that cannot be protected by traditional sprinkler systems due to the potential for water damage. Typical system applications include telecommunication facilities, clean rooms, data processing centres and museums.
Why Do Buildings Have Gas Suppression?
The Building Code of Australia volume 1 parts E1.10 and E2.3 detail the mandatory requirements for special hazard systems.
Where Should Gas Suppression Be Located?
Like all fire protection systems, gas suppression systems should only be designed by experienced engineers.
Australian Standard AS1670.5 sets out the requirements for the design, installation and commissioning of special hazards detection, actuation and control systems comprising components complying with the requirements of the relevant product Standards itemized in AS 1670.1.
How Do I Operate A Gas Suppression System?
Gas suppression systems commonly include three key elements: notification devices, control panel and smoke detectors. The smoke detectors are the first line of defence and activate the control panel when smoke is detected. The control panel then activates the notification devices and releases the agent from a bank of cylinders through the piping to the nozzles.
Occupants will see and hear the active notification devices and know that the fire suppression agent will release soon. If the occupants observe a fire before the smoke detectors activate, they can release the gas via a manual control station.
Maintenance, Inspection & Testing
Western Australia’s building legislation requires owners of Class 2 to Class 9 buildings (which includes residential apartments) to ensure the building’s firefighting services and equipment are maintained. This is to ensure that safety systems remain capable of performing to a standard not less than they were originally required and commissioned to achieve.
The Building Commission considers the adoption of Australian Standard AS1851-2012 Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment as good practice and a means for owners to ensure fire safety measures are serviced at regular frequencies to demonstrate suitable operation, and rectified or repaired if necessary to meet their regulatory obligation on maintenance.