Gaseous fire suppression systems are automated fire extinguishers that extinguish fires without causing damage to equipment. Room integrity Testing (RIT) is required for buildings that utilize these systems. In today’s post, Entergis Testing and Sealing, LLC shares an overview of RIT and the importance of having one done when your building has a gaseous fire suppression system.
How Do Gaseous Fire Suppression Systems Work?
You may have heard of the “fire triangle”, which is composed of the three components that produce fire: heat, oxygen and fuel. A more recent version of this is a “fire tetrahedron,” which adds a fourth component: chemical reaction. Taking away one or more of these will extinguish a fire. Water primarily takes away heat, while fire extinguishers contain a substance that suppresses contact between fuel and oxygen.
Gaseous fire suppression systems utilize a mechanism that discharges a gas which primarily reduces available oxygen in the room and secondarily inhibits the chemical reaction required for ignition. Protection can be “local application,” which means fire suppression is focused on a specific piece of equipment, or “total flooding”, which seals the entire room and fills it with the gas until the fire goes out. This type of fire suppression system is ideal for situations in which water sprinklers may cause further damage, as in the case of server rooms (where water may damage sensitive electronic equipment) and chemical laboratories (where water may cause a chain reaction).
What Is Room Integrity Testing?
For a total flooding system to work, the gas needs to be concentrated in the room for at least ten minutes. Any leaks can disperse the gas and allow oxygen into the room, which can cause the fire to reignite. This is why maintaining room integrity is important. A gaseous fire suppression system works best in a room with as little air leakage as possible. Openings for such things as fenestrations, electrical cabling and air ducts make it impossible to seal a room; however, they can be blocked or closed just long enough for the system to maintain minimum gas concentrations within the minimum required time.
In our next post, Entergis Testing and Sealing, LLC is going to discuss how RIT is done. In the meantime, if you need help with air leakage testing and sealing, give us a call at (225) 577-6799. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve customers in Louisiana, Mississippi, and East Texas.