Fire Protection Systems FST255

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FireProtection Systems: FST255

Student’sName and Address


ResearchProject Number: 497420


Effective fire protection systems are some of the most essentialsystems that a brand new eight-story building may have. If thesystems are so good, the building’s occupants remain assured thatproperties stored in the building will rarely be destroyed by fire.On top of this, they are also assured of their safety from fire. Theessentiality of these systems in a complex building structure such asthis one cannot, therefore, be underestimated. This research paperprovides a detailed and comprehensive discussion of thecharacteristics of these systems and how they impact the buildingoccupants and firefighters responding to a confirmed structure fire.The scope of this project is limited to the common fire protectionsystems that are suitable for a six-story building.

Tableof Contents

Abstract 2

Introduction 4

Fire Protection Systems 4

Automatic Sprinkler System 4

Alternative Automatic Fire Extinguisher System 5

Standpipe and Hose Systems 6

Portable Fire Extinguishers 7

Fire Detection, Signaling and Alarm Systems 8

Smoke Control Systems 9

Smoke and Heat Vents 10

Fire Command Center 11

Conclusion 12

References 13


Fire is one of the worst disasters that could occur in a newlycompleted eight-story building. It is a risk that many individualsand firms attempt to do all that is within their capabilities toensure that it does not occur. Some firms take fire insurance tomitigate against this risk while other adopt comprehensive fireprotection systems. The most effective organizations insure andprotect at the same time. What are fire protection systems? What istheir level of effectiveness if installed in a brand new eight-storybuilding? What are the characteristics of these systems and how wouldeach system impact the building occupants and firefighters in case offire?

The above are just some of the questions regarding the devices,wiring, piping, equipment and controls that detect fire and smoke tosuppress them that this research paper seeks to explore. But justbefore that, the researcher points out that the primary objective offire protection in such a building (and most likely even in any otherbuilding) is to save lives and protect property (Lopez et al.,2013). Other objectives such as minimizing interruptions of servicesdue to fire should be considered secondary because that is what theyare. The sprinkler system, vents, command center, fire-extinguishingsystem, hose, alarming and detecting systems are some of the fireprotection system that have been discussed in details.

Fire Protection SystemsAutomatic Sprinkler System

The automatic sprinkler system will be installed in such a way thatensures automatic detection of excessive heat (fire) which willconsequently trigger them to start sprinkling water. To ensure thishappens, each head of a sprinkler would be held closely by either aglass bub that is heat sensitive that has been connected with afusible alloy. The purpose of either of the two would be to ensurethat pressure is applied to a pipe cap. The sprinkler system to beadopted would be the wet-pipe sprinkler system as opposed to thedry-pipe and deluge systems. This is because the sprinkler heads ofthe wet-pipes sprinkler system activates independently and,therefore, only the heads near the fire will be activated. As such,water pressure will be maximized and the probability that the firewill be put off remains high.

From the above discussion, it can be deduced that the building’soccupants, as well as the firefighters, have little or no role toplay in the event of a confirmed structure fire. The system is anautomatic one hence capable of operating without external control.Excessive heat triggers the sprinkler system and water begin tosprinkle (Kwangil et al., 2015). The building’s occupants aswell as the firefighters would only have a role to play before theoccurrence of the fire. This would be to frequent checks on whetherthe system is well set to operate well in case of fire emergency.

Alternative Automatic Fire Extinguisher System

As an alternative to the automatic sprinkler system, an automaticfire extinguishing systems would be installed. One of the maincharacteristics of the fire extinguishing system would includeautomatic activation and discharge of its extinguishing agent.Efforts would be made to ensure that the extinguishing agent is notwater since the automatic sprinkler system uses water. This would bedone in an effort to ensure that the available extinguishing agentsare diversified enough to cover all classes of fire. The fireextinguishing system would be designed in such a way that itactivates and discharges its extinguishing agent when temperaturesreach 79ºC. An additional characteristic of the system is itstemporal nature (Kessell, 2012). Once it activates and discharges itsextinguishing agent, it cannot be used anymore. The fire extinguishersystem should be dismounted and a newone mounted. The fire extinguishing systems shall be charged withclean agents at an operating temperature of O°F to 130°F.

The system’s impact on occupants and firefighters responding toconfirmed fire structure is temporary assistance. Once thetemperatures have risen to 79ºC as a result of the fire, the systemwill discharge and fire will be extinguished either completely orpartially. At that point when the systems discharge, occupants orfirefighters have the best opportunity to ensure that the fire hasbeen completely extinguished. They should take advantage of thereduced fire as a result of the system discharge. If there are anyindividuals who have been stuck inside, this is the best opportunityto move out. Like the case for the automatic sprinkler system, thebuilding’s occupants and firefighter have little or no role to playto trigger the discharge.

Standpipe and Hose Systems

Every floor of the eight-story building will have an arrangement ofpipes, valves, hose outlets and other equipment of the same caliberwhich will be arranged in such a manner that water can be dischargedthrough them to extinguish the fire. One of the main characteristicsof this equipment is that the pipes shall have a reasonable diameterto ensure that enough water can be discharged through. Besides, thewhole system will be connected to a water source. A large water tankwith water meant for fire emergency is recommended to be the watersource. The tank can be located at the topmost floor of the buildingto ensure that the water flows through the pipes at high pressure(Driscoll et al., 2016). The standpipe system will be designedin four main categories. The 2.5 inch or larger hose to be used byfirefighters or fire department, 1.5-inch hose to be used by thebuilding occupants, ideal hose pipes that can be used by both thefirefighters and occupants and a combined system to serve both thehose pipes and the outlets for automatic sprinklers.

The system impacts building occupants by providing them with 1.5-inchhose pipes to use in the event of a fire. The provision is strategicin that if the fire is less, firefighters will not have to comebecause the occupants will put it off within a few minutes usingthese pipes and the sprinkler system. It is also the occupant’srole to switch on the water from valves which will be strategicallylocated on the outer side of the building. They must be switched onmanually because the standpipe and hose system is not an automaticsystem. The system provides an alternative source of water forfirefighters. They do not have to carry their own. All they need isthe knowledge, competence, and expertise on how to use 2.5-inch hosesto extinguish the fire.

Portable Fire Extinguishers

As the name suggests, fire extinguishers that can be carried oreasily moved shall be strategically stored in the building. The maincharacteristic of this system is that its elements should beflexible. The portable fire extinguishers will also be conspicuous toensure that the build’s occupants can see them every day they usethe building so that when fire breaks out, they can easily rememberwhere they saw them. The installation of the portable fireextinguishers will be coupled with comprehensive training for thebuilding’s occupants on how to use them. In addition to thesefeatures, they should contain different extinguishing agents so thatany class of fire can be extinguished. Beyond this, the portable fireextinguishers will be of different sizes for convenience.

This system impacts building occupants responding to a confirmed firein that it makes them the first solution to the fire. This is thefirst alternative before the fire gets to extreme levels. Well,trained occupants can use the right portable extinguisher in theright way to extinguish the right class of fire. Occupant’straining is, therefore, very essential because without doing so, theportable fire extinguishers may not be used (Llovet et al.,2014). The system impacts firefighters in a manner that is almostsimilar to its impact on the occupants. Firefighters can perfectlyuse the right portable fire extinguishers in the right way for theright class of fire since they are experienced. These extinguishersare very essential to firefighter especially when the fire breaks outfrom a point where heavy fire-extinguishing machinery and vehiclescannot reach (Kwangil et al., 2015).

Fire Detection, Signaling and Alarm Systems

One of the main characteristics of this system is that it will be anideal combination of both manual and automated systems. The manualalarming system would be comprised of bells, gongs, and flashlightswhich will be activated by an electronic switch in the event of afire. The system will be designed in such a way that the switch willbe enclosed inside a glass panel to avoid accidental operation(Kessell, 2012). Besides, the sound of breaking the glass during theemergency acts as an alarm to occupants of the nearby locations. Theautomated systems, on the other hand, will be connected with thermaldetectors that sense an excessive rise in temperatures and initiatethe alarm. The automated fire detection system will be connected tothe building’s fire department to ensure signaling for two-threeseconds before initiating the alarm.

The system has a major impact on the building’s occupantsresponding to a confirmed fire in that it requires them to identifythe nearest alarm switch, check whether it is safe to walk towardsit, break the glass panel and switch it on. This is important increating awareness to the whole building. They also have a role toplay in the automated signaling system observing the signal andusing the available means to alert other occupants in the samebuilding (Lopez et al., 2013). They, however, have no role toplay in as far as the automated detection and alarming systems areconcerned. The alarm system can be used to inform nearby firefightersof the occurrence. If this is not the case, then the system’simpact on them is not different from that of the building’soccupants.

Smoke Control Systems

The main feature of these systems is that their design andinstallation must be in such a way that provides suitable conditionsfor evacuation of tenants. The system will also be designed to ensurethat the maximum possible stack effect (whether normal or reverse)will not interfere with the system’s normal way of doing things ina negative manner. The system’s temperature and wind effect will beconsidered to ensure that they do not interfere with itscapabilities. Other features include that equipment, air inlets, andsmoke outlets will be located in an appropriate manner (Kwangil etal., 2015). This means that equipment will be located in such away that the uninvolved portions of the building will not be exposed.Outlets will be located in a way that minimizes the potential forsmoke or flame into the building while the inlets are located tominimize reintroduction of smoke. The system shall as well becharacterized with automatic dampers and fans.

The smoke control system is one of the most important fire protectionsystems in as far as evacuation and relocation of occupants areconcerned. Smoke is a major hindrance to the evacuation process. Witha good smoke control system, firefighters and other experts find itconvenient to evacuate the occupants. Besides, the system assists theoccupants as well as the firefighters in extinguishing the fire. Astructure with a poor smoke control system or one that does not haveone makes it difficult for the firefighters to put off the fire(Driscoll et al., 2016). A good smoke control system alsominimizes the likelihood for occupants suffocating inside thebuilding before they are evacuated. In training sessions, the firedepartment should ensure that the occupants are well informed of themost smoke secure zones.

Smoke and Heat Vents

The smoke and heat vents will be installed on the rooftop of theeight-story building. Having considered that the building will beinstalled with an automated sprinkler system, the smoke and heatvents will as well be designed to operate automatically. The ventingarea will be 17 square feet with dimensions of 5 feet. They will belocated 20 feet away from the adjacent lot lines and firewalls and 10feet away from the barrier walls (Lopez et al., 2013). Thesystem will be coupled with an engineered mechanical smoke exhaustwith fans that will be uniformly spaced in such a way that thedistance between one exhaust fan and the other shall not exceed 100feet. The external openings shall be designed and located in such away that the smoke and heat (that passes through them) is notdirected to another building. All this will be done with a view toimproving the efficiency and effectiveness of the smoke heat andvents.

The smoke and heat vent system has a major impact on both thebuilding’s occupants as well as the firefighters. The system playsa major role in providing an exit route for hazardous smoke and heatin the event of a fire. As such, the probability that occupants stackinside the building will suffocate is minimized (Kessell, 2012). Thecase is not different for firefighters. The system has, however, evena greater impact on firefighters than on the occupants. It providesan exit route for excessive heat hence providing a more conduciveenvironment for the firefighters to put off the fire. The risk thatexcessive heat and smoke will cause a lot of destruction is alsominimized. In another aspect of the system’s impact, an additionalrole for the building’s occupant is added where they are requiredto ensure that the system is fully functional during the occurrence(if it is automated). In case the system ismanual, the occupants are expected to open the vents as soon as thefire breaks out.

Fire Command Center

In addition to the above fire protection systems is a fire commandcenter. The main feature of this center is its location it will belocated a few meters away from the eight-story building. To ensurethat its location is strategic, the engineers would liaise with thefire department. The room will be 100 Sq. ft. with a dimension of 10ft. Other characteristics of the center include voice and alarmsystem. This is one of the most important features that the firecommand center may have (Llovet et al., 2014). The centershould also have a detection and alarm system, visual indications ofall the elevators and whether or not they are functional, control forsimultaneous unlocking of stairway doors and fire pump statusindicators. In addition to these features, the fire command centerwould also have a firefighter`s control panel, telephone, worktables,schematic building plans, and emergency and standby power statusindicators. In other words, these features describe a location thatwould be used as a control center for a fire emergency.

Going by the fact that it has a considerable number of functions, itgoes without saying that the center`s impact on the building’soccupants and firefighters cannot be underestimated. If the center isthe fire assembly point, all the occupants are expected to assembleat this point during the fire and lay down tactics to evacuate stackindividuals, put off the fire and to inform the authorities amongstothers (Llovet et al., 2014). This center enables theoperators to open all the staircase doors to ease the tenant’srelocation process. It facilitates the awareness process since it hasalarm systems. The alarm in the center is considered as moreconvenient than the systems in the building because it can easily beaccessed. Besides, its voice communication system can be used toreach occupants who have been stuck inside the building. It is atthis point where both the occupants and the firefighters point outthe best strategies to ease the situation.


To wrap things up, there are many fire protection systems that aqualified engineer can recommend to an eight-story building. However,the systems to not operate the same way and their impacts on thebuilding’s occupants and firefighters differ from system to system.Engineers can recommend the substitutions of a fire protection systemwith another who plays the same role but in a more effective manner.As evident from the above discussion, while some fire protectionsystems can appropriately substitute each other, others are sodifferent that they cannot and can only complement one another theycan only be used together (Kessell, 2012). The researcher focused onthe common fire protection systems that are suitable for aneight-story building. The systems discussed were: automaticsprinkler automatic fire-extinguishing system standpipe and hosesystems portable extinguishers fire detection, signaling, andalarming systems smoke control vents and the command center.


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Kessell, S. R. (2012). Gradient modelling: resource and firemanagement. Springer Science &amp Business Media.

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López, C., Firmo, J. P., Correia, J. R., &amp Tiago, C. (2013).Fire protection systems for reinforced concrete slabs strengthenedwith CFRP laminates. Construction and Building Materials, 47,324-333.

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