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The USA Fire Suppression systems are governed by the codes under the NFPA.

Fire Suppression Systems are commonly used on heavy power equipment.

Suppression systems use a combination of dry chemicals and/or wet agents to
suppress equipment fires. Suppression systems have become a necessity to
several industries as they help control damage and loss to equipment. Common
means of detection are through heat sensors, wiring, or manual detection
(depending on system selection).

A large furniture factory had repeatedly burned down, and Hiram Stevens
Maxim was consulted on how to prevent a recurrence. As a result, Maxim
invented the first automatic fire sprinkler. It would douse the areas that were on
fire, and it would report the fire to the fire station. Maxim was unable to sell the
idea elsewhere, but when the patent expired the idea was used. [5][6]
Henry S. Parmalee of New Haven, Connecticut created and installed the first
automatic fire sprinkler system in 1874, usingsolder that melted in a fire to
unplug holes in the otherwise sealed water pipes. At the time he was the
president of Mathusek Piano Works. Parmelee invented his sprinkler system in
response to exorbitantly high insurance rates. Parmalee patented his idea and
had great success with it in the U.S. Parmalee called his invention the
"automatic fire extinguisher".[7] He then traveled to Europe to demonstrate his
method to stop a building fire before total destruction.
His invention did not get as much attention as he had planned. Most people
could not afford to install a sprinkler system. Once Parmalee realized this, he
turned his efforts on educating the insurance companies about his system. He
talked about how the sprinkler system would reduce the loss ratio, thus saving
money for the insurance companies. He knew that he could never succeed in
obtaining contracts from the business owners to install his system unless he
could ensure for them a reasonable return in the form of reduced premiums.
In this connection he was fortunate enough to enlist the sympathies of two men,
who both had connections in the insurance industry. The first of these was Major
Hesketh, who, in addition to being a cotton spinner in a large business in Bolton,
was Chairman of the Bolton Cotton Trades Mutual Insurance Company. The
Directors of this Company and more particularly its Secretary, Peter Kevan, took
an interest in Parmalees early experiments. Hesketh got Parmalee his first order
for sprinkler installations in the cotton spinning mills of John Stones & Company,
at Astley Bridge, Bolton, followed soon afterwards by an order from the
Alexandra Mills, owned by John Butler of the same town.
Although Parmalee got two sales through its efforts, the Bolton Cotton Trades
Mutual Insurance Company was not a very big company outside of its local area.

Parmalee needed a wider influence. He found this influence in James North Lane,
the Manager of the Mutual Fire Insurance Corporation of Manchester. This
company was founded in 1870 by the Textile Manufacturers' Associations
of Lancashire and Yorkshire as a protest against high insurance rates. They had
a policy of encouraging risk management and more particularly the use of the
most up-to-date and scientific apparatus for extinguishing fires. Even though he
put tremendous effort and time into educating the masses on his sprinkler
system, by 1883 only about 10 factories were protected by the Parmalee
Back in the U.S., Frederick Grinnell, who was manufacturing the Parmalee
sprinkler, designed the more effective Grinnell sprinkler. He increased sensitivity
by removing the fusible joint from all contact with the water, and, by seating a
valve in the center of a flexible diaphragm, he relieved the low-fusing soldered
joint of the strain of water pressure. By this means the valve seat was forced
against the valve by the water pressure, producing a self-closing action, so that
the greater the water pressure, the tighter the valve. The flexible diaphragm had
a further and most important function. It caused the valve and its seat to move
outwards simultaneously until the solder joint was completely severed. Grinnell
got a patent for his version of the sprinkler system. He also took his invention to
Europe, where it was a much bigger success than the Parmalee version.
Eventually, the Parmalee system was withdrawn, which left an open path for
Grinnell and his invention.[8]

US regulations[edit]
Fire sprinkler application and installation guidelines, and overall fire sprinkler
system design guidelines, are provided by theNational Fire Protection
Association (NFPA) 13, (NFPA) 13D, and (NFPA) 13R.
California and Pennsylvania require sprinklers in at least some new residential
Fire sprinklers can be automatic or open orifice. Automatic fire sprinklers
operate at a predetermined temperature, utilizing a fusible element, a portion of
which melts, or a frangible glass bulb containing liquid which breaks, allowing
the plug in the orifice to be pushed out of the orifice by the water pressure in
the fire sprinkler piping, resulting in water flow from the orifice. The water
stream impacts a deflector, which produces a specific spray pattern designed in
support of the goals of the sprinkler type (i.e., control or suppression). Modern
sprinkler heads are designed to direct spray downwards. Spray nozzles are
available to provide spray in various directions and patterns. The majority of
automatic fire sprinklers operate individually in a fire. Contrary to motion picture

representation, the entire sprinkler system does not activate, unless the system
is a special deluge type.
Open orifice sprinklers are only used in water spray systems or deluge sprinklers
systems. They are identical to the automatic sprinkler on which they are based,
with the heat sensitive operating element removed.
Automatic fire sprinklers utilizing frangible bulbs follow a standardized colorcoding convention indicating their operating temperature. Activation
temperatures correspond to the type of hazard against which the sprinkler
system protects. Residential occupancies are provided with a special type of fast
response sprinkler with the unique goal of life safety.


A sprinkler with a Green bulb indicating a liquid alcohol and intermediate temperature

Each closed-head sprinkler is held closed by either a heat-sensitive glass bulb

(see below) or a two-part metal link held together with fusible alloy such
as Wood's metal[10] and other alloys with similar compositions.[11] The glass bulb
or link applies pressure to a pipe cap which acts as a plug which prevents water
from flowing until the ambient temperature around the sprinkler reaches the
design activation temperature of the individual sprinkler. Because each sprinkler
activates independently when the predetermined heat level is reached, the
number of sprinklers that operate is limited to only those near the fire, thereby
maximizing the available water pressure over the point of fire origin.
The bulb breaks as a result of the thermal expansion of the liquid inside the
bulb.[12]The time it takes before a bulb breaks is dependent on the temperature.
Below the design temperature, it does not break, and above the design
temperature it breaks, taking less time to break as temperature increases above

the design threshold. The response time is expressed as a response time index
(RTI), which typically has values between 35 and 250 m s, where a low value
indicates a fast response.[13]Under standard testing procedures (135 C air at a
velocity of 2.5 m/s), a 68 C sprinkler bulb will break within 7 to 33 seconds,
depending on the RTI.[14] The RTI can also be specified in imperial units, where
1 fts is equivalent to 0.55 ms. The sensitivity of a sprinkler can be negatively
affected if the thermal element has been painted.
Hydraulic calculations are required to prove the flow of water (or water mixed
with chemical additive) through piping networks for the purpose of controlling or
extinguishing a fire. The hydraulic calculation procedure is defined in the
reference model codes as published by NFPA (National Fire Protection
Association),[1] EN 12845 Fixed firefighting system - Automatic sprinkler systems
- Design, installation and maintenance [2] and other international fire design
The calculations prove that the water available (usually from a city water main,
elevated storage tank, or fire pump) is strong enough (has enough pressure),
and plentiful enough (has enough gallons / volume) to fight the worst case fire
expected in a given building (based on the building use, the building height, and
the items expected to be legally stored).

Basis of calculation[edit]
Calculations are based on the worst expected fire, located in the geometrically
farthest point from the water source (based on the path the extinguishing water
is required to travel to get to the fire).
Analysis of the worst expected fire is based on the use of the building and areas.
The hazard rating of various areas is defined by National Fire Protection
Association (NFPA) Codes. Areas include:

Light Hazard (offices, toilets, and similar areas of light combustibles and
light fuel loading)

Ordinary Hazard (car parking, stores, restaurants)

Extra Hazard (flammable chemical use, heavy manufacturing, plastics)

Storage (flammable items stored in solid piles, on shelves, or on racks to a

significant height).

The analysis of hazard gives a design density required to control a fire, which
has been derived from years of fire tests conducted by insurance companies and

other testing agencies. The design density is described by two variables that
must work together to achieve fire control:
Water flowfrom the sprinkler head (how heavy the rainfall of water from open
fire sprinklers)
Total area (the expected size of the fire before it will not continue to grow)
The shortened expression of a common design density for a Light Hazard office
is .1/1500, which is fully expressed as,
" 0.1 GPM per square foot is required to fall from the fire sprinklers onto the fire
over the most remote 1,500 square feet (140 m2) of area, which is the maximum
expected size of a fire in this Light Hazard building area."
A common density required for a warehouse type "big box" store that has higher
flammability items stored on racks to twenty feet high is .6/2000. Note that the
density of water to fall per square foot is six times heavier than an office, and
the expected fire size is larger.
Storage warehouses commonly use a newer technology type fire
sprinkler, ESFR (early suppression fast response), which have discharge
requirements not based on design densities, and which are designed
to extinguish a fire before the arrival of the fire department.
The water available is verified by means of a water flow test (opening a fire
hydrant and recording the water pressures and gallons flow per minute).