The time lag between a fire starting, its detection by smoke or heat detectors, and the activation of a suitable suppressant can differ greatly and will mean the difference between a fire being effectively extinguished or not.
Sophisticated, automated fire detection systems usually start with smoke detection but there is often a time lag before the smoke coming from the source of the fire is detected. A group of veteran fire equipment design engineers in the USA has developed a system to stop fires almost as soon as they start and it is claimed to be foolproof.
The Fire De Tec system is a detection and suppression system in one. It is designed for micro-environments and simply provides supplementary protection that suppresses fire quickly, within the protected space, before larger room or building systems are activated. Fire De Tec consists of polymer tubing that ruptures when exposed to flame. The tubing is leak resistant, flexible and durable and incorporates precise heat sensitivity that causes valves in the tube to open automatically and extinguish the flames where the fire starts.
It does not require expensive control panels, or electrical connections, and is the most cost-effective automatic fire suppression system available. It is a simple system that can be installed quickly and can be matched with any fire suppression agent – such as foam or dry chemicals.
The Fire De Tec system is commonly used in enclosures such as electrical boxes, engine compartments and server rooms, and in industrial machines and other hard to reach areas where fires could start. The system is even used in wind turbines and in buses, but can just as easily be used in the domestic environment.
There are two configurations: the direct release, low pressure system which uses Fire De Tec for both detection and suppression; or the indirect release where the tube is used only as the detection device, but is linked via a valve to other tubing which delivers the extinguishing agent from strategically placed nozzles within the enclosure. High pressure suppressants, such as carbon dioxide or argon, can also be used. Fire De Tec is available in South Africa from SafeQuip, a leading supplier of fire safety equipment.