Wet Chemical vs. Dry Chemical Fire Suppression Systems

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A fire in a domestic or commercial setting can be a life threatening event. For this reason, advanced technological devices are available for use in effectively suppressing life-threatening flames. Because of different environments and different types of fires, fire fighting systems cannot rely on just one type of chemical to suppress fires. Flames may bear different characteristics, depending on their origin, and therefore, they may require different chemical treatments.

There are two primary types of fire suppression systems used today: wet and dry chemical fire suppression.

Wet Chemical Fire Suppression

The wet chemical suppression system is what most people understand as the traditional fire suppression system, for instance in a commercial kitchen. This extinguishing method is specific to the cooking fires that may occur in residential and commercial settings. The suppressant is a liquid substance that, when sprayed onto the affected area, cools the flames immediately. Its effectiveness is due in part to its immediate response to fire. When the liquid comes into contact with cooking oils and fats, it reacts to produce foam, subsequently cooling the affected area and preventing the fire from reigniting.

Wet chemical suppression systems are required to comply with NFPA 17A (standard for wet chemical extinguishing systems) and NFPA 96 (Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection for Commercial Cooking Operations).

Dry Chemical Suppression

Dry chemical suppression systems are most commonly used in industrial settings, such as paint spray booths and large off-road equipment. Dry chemical systems utilize Class ABC or Class BC dry chemical compounds to effectively extinguish fires where and when water is rendered inaccessible. Since dry chemical systems are rechargeable, electrical extinguishing systems that are installed easily into the commercial and industrial setting, these systems provide easy accessibility and are efficient to use. Because they are non-conductive, they can be utilized to not only quell fires in ordinary combustible materials, but also on flammable liquid fires that involve live electrical equipment.

Dry chemical systems are required to comply with NFPA 17 (Standard for Dry Chemical Extinguishing Systems) and NFPA 33 (Standard for Spray Application to safely use on flammable and combustible materials).

Choosing the Right Fire Suppression System

Fire suppression systems assist in early detection and help to quickly suppress potentially life and property threatening fires. It is critical to have the right system installed for your environment and application. If you are unsure of what type of fire suppression system is ideal for your equipment, click here to contact a technician in your area who can explain your options and help you choose the right system for your needs.


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