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Sprinkler systems / electrics

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Paul1979
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Sprinkler systems / electrics

Post by Paul1979 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:21 am

Hi, silly question but in our office we have huge amounts of portable electrical equipment such as monitors, PC's, laptops, kettles, microwaves, photocopiers, printers, etc. A typical large open plan office.

The building is fitted throughout with a sprinkler system which is obviously a plus point!

But, is there not a risk of electrocution or other problems if the sprinkler system activates over a piece of electrical equipment that is plugged in to the mains??

Also, when does the sprinkler stop putting water on the fire?? Does it work for a certain period of time or does it automatically somehow recognise when the flames are extinguished and stop?? We're worried it may keep throwing water on the equipment in the area(s) where a fire starts which may cause other damage.

Any advice always appreciated!! .salut

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Re: Sprinkler systems / electrics

Post by Waterbaby » Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:45 pm

Bump ./thumbsup..

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Messy
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Re: Sprinkler systems / electrics

Post by Messy » Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:49 pm

Ok, risk of electrocution ?

When a sprinkler operates electrical equipment will get wet. High voltage equipment may create issues, but the appliances you mention should present a very low risk. Firstly, everyone will evacuate the wet area - trust me, it is not fun being under a sprinkler when it is full flow

Circuit breakers should provide protection, and it might be sensible to create a contingency plan of what to do if a sprinkler head did activate (real or accidentally) in respect of dealing with the water run off. The plan should include measures that you will need to take to get back in business - and staff safety when doing so. Shutting off the electric will have been done by the fire service if they attend.

Careful management of areas below sprinkler heads and regular maintenance will reduce the risk of an accidental actuation. Such events are rare. And lets dispel the Hollywood myth that when one sprinkler head activates, they all do. That is not the case for the overwhelming number of general sprinkler systems

If you have high value stock or kit - data centre or document store perhaps - a dry pipe system is available where, as the name suggests, no water enters the pipework until a fire is confirmed

Stopping the water?

Some systems use water tanks, others directly or indirectly from the mains. The water will flow until somebody turns it off!!!

If you don't know how to, you should find out as soon as possible. Again. a system should be developed to ensure care is taken not to switch the sprinklers off before the system has taken control of the fire. There are some major examples of what happens if you do this with a large computer warehouse in Hampshire during to the ground 30 years ago and Ocado's Andover warehouse ending up on the floor following the same mistake

Get some advice and plan
Sprinklers are really good news, they save lives and prevent business loss
Some systems are 100 years old and still going strong, if looked after

Search 'Fire Sprinklers Myths' for further info

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Re: Sprinkler systems / electrics

Post by Paul1979 » Thu Nov 14, 2019 3:52 pm

Brilliant, thank you so much messy! ;)

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Re: Sprinkler systems / electrics

Post by witsd » Tue Nov 19, 2019 3:27 pm

There's a line in an old episode of Star Trek TNG, where someone complains about an automatic fire suppression force field extinguishing their illicit campfire, asking what would have happened if they had been standing where the force field appeared.

It is quickly pointed out that that would necessitate that they were standing on top of the fire.

As Messy says, it's doubtful that anyone would hang about long enough (getting either cooked or soaked) for electrocution to be an issue.
We often think that when we have completed our study of one we know all about two, because 'two' is 'one and one.' We forget that we still have to make a study of 'and.'

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