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Logistics Centres Fire Protection A Different View

Logistics Centres Need the Best Type Of Fire Protection

Logistics centers are generally large industrial buildings that are well known for the storage of goods and their distribution. They actually function as a “mini-city” within particular areas that offer every service that one could need. They also represent hubs for ground, air, and maritime transport. Logistics centers are essential in today’s fast-paced business environment where efficiency and speed are required to ensure competitiveness in global markets.

In recent years, logistics services have continuously grown in importance for the success of businesses.

More than one third of all large-scale fire damage in commercial operations and industry occur in storage and logistics areas. Logistics businesses characteristically store large amounts of goods – and thus a high volume of assets – in a comparatively small area. The total sum of fire risks and the quick spreading of fire combine to form extreme hazard potentials. As a result, a fire can quickly threaten the survival of an entire business. Especially in the field of storage and logistics there are numerous crucial criteria for the selection of the best type of fire protection. In a first step, the various storage types – from high rack storage to block storage – must be distinguished. The type of moved and stored goods also plays a significant role, since these may differ greatly in their composition and characteristics.
Special risks, such as the storage of paper rolls or tires, require special fire protection solutions.
Additionally, commissioning areas, server rooms and peripheral storage areas have to be considered.

Protection Zones

In warehouses and logistics centers, it is critical to protect valuable assets, including documents and data, as well as the building itself. The potential for fire is high in these types of environments because of the presence of flammable materials, including packaging, shipping and storage boxes, and chemicals. Failure to adequately protect these assets can result in the complete loss of a company’s inventory.

The best way to prevent this from happening is through a multi-pronged approach that takes into account not only the type of materials stored in the space, but also how those materials are stored and organized. A good fire protection plan should include monitoring systems that catch fires before they get out of hand and suppression systems that quickly extinguish active fires.

fire protection zones

Source: Minimax.com

The storage of hazardous substances requires optimal protection.

The storage of hazardous materials and the construction of warehouses for such purposes are subject to a number of regulations. First, in order to avoid accidents, it is important that the warehouse has been designed to withstand various environmental influences. As a result of these factors, the areas around such a warehouse must be built in a particular way.

For example, it may be necessary to build an extinguishing water retention system in order to cover any possible fire resulting from a leak or other accident. This requirement depends on the type of hazardous material stored in the warehouse. Likewise, in certain situations it may be necessary to provide soil protection in the form of collecting reservoirs to catch any leaking hazardous material and prevent it from spreading into the surrounding area. Depending on what is stored in them, warehouses containing hazardous materials may or may not require fall-safe storage (storage higher than two meters).

Fire Risks

  • Rapid spread of fire
  • Devastating consequences of a fire for people and environment
  • Smoke spread may be rapid, resulting in smoke-logged areas with reduced visibility and toxicity
  • Uncontrolled water runoff during water spray application
  • Noise levels during a fire can be high

Fire Protection

When it comes to fire protection for hazardous substance storage, the rule of thumb is this: select the type of fire protection system based on the nature of the stored goods.

The range of fire extinguishing systems used in these facilities is correspondingly wide and varied. For many types of storage, inert gas extinguishing systems are often the preferred solution: they extinguish fires quickly without leaving residues on the protected objects, and there are no chemical reactions between burnt materials and extinguishants. Oxygen reduction systems and foam extinguishing systems can also be effective alternatives. Flame and heat detectors are frequently employed as well.

fire protection services sydney

High Rack Storage

High rack storage systems are perfect for large quantities of goods. The capacity of these storage systems ranges from a few thousand to several hundred thousand pallet storage positions, and they can be up to 50 m high. High rack storage systems are designed for the intake of pallets. Between every two rows of storage shelves there is an alley in which rack feeders move up and down. In this way, they offer space for an extremely large quantity of goods and products on a very small surface area.

Fire Risks

The biggest risk of fire in high rack storage is the rapid spread of fire in a vertical direction due to pallets stacked on top of one another. Fires in this type of storage can spread much faster than fires in low-level storage, often reaching heights and temperatures that exceed the highest limits for extinguishing agents. High rack fires are also more difficult to reach with firefighting equipment and personnel.

The reason for this is the chimney effect: flames and hot fire gases are drawn upwards through the shafts between the stacks, rapidly increasing temperatures within the shaft itself and allowing the fire to spread vertically.

Fire Protection

In order to protect high rack storage facilities from the risk of fire, sprinkler systems have proven to be an effective solution. In the classical version, sprinklers are installed both under the ceiling and in the shelves, but ESFR (Early Suppression Fast Response) sprinklers can be used to avoid having to install sprinklers in the shelves. Fire detection systems for the early detection of fires can also be used to supplement sprinkler systems in these facilities.

In these cases, it is recommended using aspirating smoke detectors with a vertical installation of the suction lines in the shelves and mounting the evaluation units in easily accessible locations. The advantage of such a solution over punctiform smoke detectors (ionisation detectors that measure the ionised particles in the smoke) is that they can be serviced very easily without having to interrupt business operations.

high rack storage

Source: Minimax.com

Block storage facilities

In block storage facilities, goods and products are stored in crates, boxes or pallets on top of each other and next to each other, piled up in blocks without using shelves. The individual blocks of a storage facility are often subdivided into smaller units – so-called cells. This in turn ensures a very dense arrangement of the storage units, and thus a very high rate of space and volume usage.

The stacked goods are handled by means of conveyor technology. In order to be able to store goods as densely as possible, the block storages have a high stacking height with approx. 15 m.

Block storages are mainly used for storing large quantities of similar goods in uniform dimensions – for example palletized cartons or plastic crates filled with bottles, cans or jars. In addition, there is also the possibility to store mixed goods in such systems – i.e. different types of goods together in one cell.

Fire Risks

Block Storage facilities are subject to certain risks, including but not limited to: technical defects in the warehouse facilities and the very high fire hazard present due to densely stored goods and products.

Fire Protection

In order to ensure that fire protection in block storage facilities is effective, the sprinklers are installed in the ceiling.

This means that the water mist nozzles, which can be either conventional sprinklers or ESFR sprinklers, depending on the type of stored goods, packaging and building height, are only activated when needed. In addition to these types of sprinklers, for block storage facilities this system is complemented by aspirating smoke detectors for early detection of fires.

The suction lines of the aspirating smoke detector are installed under the ceiling and sections go down to evaluation units located in easily accessible locations so that maintenance works may be performed with ease.

block storage facility

Source: Minimax.com

Paper roll storage

As a rule, paper rolls are stored in block storage facilities. Some warehouses are equipped with mechanical gripping systems – in other words, automatic paper roll depots.

Paper roll storage is an activity that has seen a significant increase in recent years due to the development of printing technologies. Paper rolls can be made from different types of material, such as Kraft paper, cardboard, plastic and so on.

Fire Risks

The storage of large quantities of sanitary paper in stacks or on pallets can present a fire risk. In such cases, there is the risk of chimney effects occurring via the shafts between the rolls of paper, which means that fire spread is significantly accelerated. In addition, the use of water as an extinguishing agent is impeded in cases where absorbent sanitary paper is stored.

Fire Protection

Detecting a fire in a paper roll storage may be difficult if the structure is not equipped with a fire detection system. In such cases, fire protection is based on measures such as the use of non-flammable building materials and regular maintenance of the building and its systems.

In principle, however, the same fire protection systems described for block storage facilities are suitable for paper roll storages. Protection concepts based on ESFR sprinklers or, in the case of high-rise warehouses, a carbon dioxide extinguishing system are viable alternatives for situations where the storage of absorbent sanitary paper prevents the use of water-based fire extinguishing systems. In this case, too, carbon dioxide has the advantage – compared to other extinguishing gases – that it is also suitable for fighting deep seated fires. In large-dimension storage areas that require large quantities of carbon dioxide, it’s recommend using low-pressure containers to store the extinguishant for cost reasons. For automatic paper roll depots oxygen reduction systems are an alternative. Activation is via a fire detection system, aspirating smoke detectors allowing early detection.

paper roll storage

Tire storage

Tire storage is a unique challenge for warehouses and distribution centers, because tire size and shape don’t fit well into the standard warehouse storage systems. As a rule, tires are stored in block storage facilities. However, sometimes they are stored in transport pallets designed specifically for the storage of tires.

Fire Risks

Defects in warehouse facilities or small appliances may present high fire risks. High fire loading due to large density of many tires in a narrow space, as well as the heat generated by the tires themselves, means fires can spread quickly and burn intensely.

Fire Protection

When it comes to tire storage, fire protection is a key factor. Fire protection for tires can be especially challenging because of the limited ability to wet the tires and the fact that a very fast development and spreading of fires could occur. For these reasons, experts recommend using a deluge system with a film-forming foaming additive or a foam extinguishing system.

There are many different protective concepts that can be used in the case of individual storage conditions; for example, there is the use of open large drop sprinklers. The release of the extinguishing systems can be done via a fire detection system or by using intelligent flame- and heat detectors.

tire storage

Server rooms

Server rooms are an important function in logistics operations. This is where merchandise data is stored and processed. If this sensitive data is destroyed by fire, this can have serious economic consequences for a logistics operation.

Therefore, it is especially important that server rooms be protected by fire in the event of a fire.

Fire Risks

When we’re talking about server rooms, there are a couple of things we have to keep in mind: overheating and faults.

Overheating of equipment can come from a variety of sources, primarily if the cooling system is not up to the task of keeping the equipment at the recommended temperatures. When this happens, your server room will start to get warmer and warmer as more equipment is added and more units begin to overheat. This can cause damage to the equipment and create fire risks.

Faults are another big problem. A fault can be something as simple as a short circuit or as complex as an energy spike. Though these things may not seem like a big deal at the time, they can lead to significant damage even with small fires.

Fire Protection

Server rooms are essential to business operation, and keeping them safe from fire hazards is of critical importance.

To ensure optimal protection against fire, it’s important to equip server rooms with an effective extinguishing system. The right solution depends on the size of the room, but in general, the earlier a fire is detected and extinguished, the more damage it can prevent.

For small to medium server rooms, an innovative system that uses the 1230 extinguishing agent offers an ideal solution. This system doesn’t leave a residue behind and requires little space.

For larger server rooms, an oxygen reduction extinguishing system is recommended. These systems are automatically activated by means of smoke aspiration systems that detect fires early on.

server room fire protection

Emergency power units

Emergency power units ensure the power supply in the event of a power failure, keep the business running and prevent financial damage from operational downtime. They are often accommodated on separate premises

Fire Risks

Diesel fuel igniting on hot surfaces, and lubricating oil escaping via leakages, are both fire risks associated with emergency power units.
Diesel fuel is highly flammable, and can easily ignite when it comes into contact with a surface that has been heated to a high temperature.
Diesel fuel igniting on hot surfaces is a fire risk associated with emergency power units.
Lubricating oil can escape from emergency power units via leakages, which can cause a fire risk when the oil comes into contact with hot surfaces.

Fire Protection

Water mist suppression systems are suitable for the local protection of the emergency power unit. These can be connected to the sprinkler systems installed for the protection of the building and quickly and efficiently fight the fire by means of open water mist nozzles. Water mist suppression system is activated by a fire detection system, which uses flame- or heat detectors for fire detection.

Recreational and office spaces

In the offices, conference rooms and dining rooms, employees and visitors regularly meet. In addition to the offices, break rooms and smoking areas are also located in the building, as well as small kitchens that enable staff to take a break. Corridors run through the entire building as the main thoroughfare for employees.

Fire Risks

The most common fire risks in recreational and office spaces are:

  • Defects in electrical equipment such as projectors or computers.
  • Overheating lighting equipment.
  • Short circuits in drinks machines.

When working in these spaces, be sure to check all electrical equipment for the above defects before use. Do not use any defective equipment, and notify a authorised personnel of any faults.

Fire Protection

When you’re choosing what fire protection system to install in your office or home, it’s important to remember that there are a number of different systems and processes in use.

One such system is the water mist suppression system. These systems are typically installed in larger buildings and connect to existing sprinkler systems. In higher premises building protection in the form of a sprinkler systems ensures reliable fire protection.

Fire detection systems are also a sensible complement to fire detection and activation of water mist suppression systems. Hydrant systems and smoke and heat venting systems complete the protection of the building.

It is also imperative that portable extinguishers be installed at various locations throughout your facility for quick and easy access.

Technologies Used

Fire detection systems are designed to detect fire risks and react accordingly. They can detect flames, smoke, fire gases, and heat—all of which can signal that a fire is occurring. The right detectors and fire detectors are available for every kind of appearance of these signals. All signals run together into the fire detection control unit, which alerts persons at risk and the fire service as well as reliably providing the competent authorities with all relevant information. In addition to this, in many cases all fire protection systems on the property are controlled and monitored for functioning via the fire detection technology, in particular the electric release of the extinguishing systems.

Hydrant systems are always ready for use. Wall-mounted and external fire hydrants are the visible ends of a reliable source of extinguishing water for firefighters, operators, and building occupants to use in manually combating fires. Behind them are reliable components such as pump systems, underground pipe networks, and filling and draining stations that are also adapted to local conditions. These components ensure the hydrants are reliably supplied with water.

 

Water mist suppression systems are the go-to fire protection system for your warehouse.

Not only are they less expensive and less invasive to install than a sprinkler system, but they also cause significantly less damage to your property in the event of an accidental discharge. Additionally, these systems are effective against class A fires (paper, wood), class B fires (flammable liquids such as cooking oil), and class C fires (electrical components).

Fire extinguishing systems for server rooms are a cost-effective solution to a great concern among web hosting companies and other IT businesses—the threat of fire. A fire in a server room or data center can cause massive losses, as backups often aren’t stored onsite and computers are extremely flammable.

There are two primary types of fire extinguishing systems for server rooms: gaseous and water mist. Gaseous systems are typically filled with nitrogen or sulfur hexafluoride and use sensors to trigger the release of gas into a room when they detect a fire. The gas is typically expelled by fans that push it through a ductwork system in the ceiling of the room, which allows the gas to reach all areas of the room quickly and effectively.

Water mist systems work similarly to sprinkler systems, but instead of releasing water, they release an atomized mixture of water and antifreeze that produces a mist capable of snuffing out most fires within seconds. In both cases, the system should be installed by professionals who understand how to optimize its effectiveness given its placement in the space.

Oxygen reduction systems provide an automated fire protection solution for high-value, high-risk areas by reducing the oxygen levels in the protected area.

These systems are designed to operate in the event of a fire, by introducing inert gases such as argon or nitrogen into the protected area. By displacing the oxygen, the fire is extinguished rapidly and without leaving any residue of extinguishant.

This is especially attractive for areas where it is important to continue production processes, where sensitive equipment is being used or stored (such as archives or museums), or where residual extinguishing agents would be damaging.

Smoke- and heat venting systems are the parts of a building that allow smoke and hot air to escape from a building during a fire. Important for two reasons:

-Smoke inhalation is one of the most common causes of death in fires. Vents help ensure people can breathe better when there’s a fire.

-Heat rises, and smoke rises with it. This can cause a chimney effect in taller buildings that allow smoke to keep rising. Venting systems allow heat and smoke to leave the building through other ways than the top of it, which can make it harder for fire to spread throughout the building.

A fire detection system is a network of devices that work together to detect and alert people to fires. Different systems have different components, but the most basic system is made up of a device that detects smoke or heat (a sensor), and an alarm that warns building occupants.

Some fire detection systems only have smoke detectors, while others include thermal detectors that sense heat. The more advanced systems also have manual pull stations that can be activated by building occupants in case of a fire. Systems can be either wired or wireless, and can include devices such as strobe lights for the hearing impaired or horn strobes for buildings with high ceilings.

Logistics Centres Fire Protection is a complex subject, it’s importance cannot be overemphasized. The need to protect logistics facilities from the risk of fire has never been more apparent. As the nature of logistics centres continues to evolve, so must their protective measures.

Need help with any aspect of your fire protection? Contact the experts at Complete Fire and Pumps today!

Dedicated to your fire protection needs.

Alex

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