How to protect your construction equipment from fire
By Leila Steed16 November 2021
When it comes to keeping your investment safe and sound, how many owners think about protecting their equipment from fire? It’s a commonplace feature on machines working in the waste handling sector but, away from that, it’s pretty rare. In this article, CEA member Fireward explains the benefits of automatic fire suppression equipment.
Fireward is a leading supplier, designer and installer of automatic fire suppression equipment and systems, which can immediately detect and extinguish fires before they start to cause damage.
The Chelmsford-based company works closely with OEMs and dealers across the UK, offering a whole range of systems for every sector and application - whether it be for on-road or off-road vehicles, or for the protection of workshops and buildings.
Sam Malins, CEO of Fireward, said, “Fire safety is extremely important. One of the key things around fire safety is that people don’t think it will happen to them, it’s often put to the bottom of the list of priorities.”
Damage caused by fire not only affects your vehicles, but it also impacts on the way you can effectively operate your business.
Choosing the right fire suppression system
Fireward tailors its fire suppression systems to meet each client’s particular requirements, minimising the risk of a devastating fire and securing valuable assets at the same time.
The company will look at an individual application in detail before advising on a particular suppression agent for the system. From water through to a variety of dry powder, gaseous and chemical agents, the team at Fireward will incorporate the most suitable suppressant into a system to quickly and effectively kill the fire.
Mark Scutt, Fireward Sales Director, said, “The beauty of our systems is that they are on all of the time and without any need for any power, it’s a 24/7 safe pair of hands for anybody that has a system fixed to an asset and some of these assets cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.”
Three types of fire suppression
1) Direct release fire suppression systems
Every system is tailormade to suit a particular application and that includes the method of suppressant delivery. Direct release systems work through installing a suppressant delivery tube throughout the engine and pump bays.
Should a fire occur, the tube at the closest point to the outbreak will rupture, resulting in a pressure change in the system and releasing the suppressant to put the fire out.
This release occurs in under ten seconds and such is the quick response, the damage to vital components is limited.
2) In-Direct fire suppression systems
The company’s In-Direct system covers a larger area but is very similar in operating style. A trace tube detects the fire, ruptures and drops the system’s pressure. This then allows suppressant to be deployed from strategically located nozzles around the machine.
Requiring no electrical input, the system is said to be ideal for machinery that may be parked up or suffers from an electrical fault causing the fire.
The In-Direct dual agent system, as the name suggests, means a combination of agents - such as powder and foam - can be used. The benefit of this is that the fire can be extinguished quickly and the area cooled at the same time to stop potential a re-ignition of the flames.
3) Spark dectection systems
For anyone operating in dusty environments or the petrochemical industries, spark detection systems are a must.
According to Fireward, a comprehensive system can detect and extinguish sparks before they can potentially cause catastrophe.
The spark detection systems offered by Fireward usually consist of a pair of bright red canisters strapped to the machine. Resembling traditional fire extinguishers, the canisters are plumbed into the machine carefully so as not to interfere with the day to day running of a machine.
The routing of the tubing also allows the operator to carry out daily checks as normal without any worry of damaging or disturbing the robust system.
*This article was originally featured in the October 2021 edition of the CEA’s Construction Worx publication