System components

  1. Electrical part
    1. Sensor network for detection.
    2. Control panel or main controller.
    3. Alarm system.
  2. Mechanical and piping
    1. A large store of water in tanks, either underground or on top of the building, called fire storage tanks.
    2. A specialised pumping system.
    3. A large network of pipes ending in either hydrants or sprinklers (nearly all buildings require both of these systems).


Storage tanks

The water is usually stored in concrete underground tanks. It is essential to ensure that this store of water always remains full, so it must have no outlets apart from the ones that lead to the fire pumps. These tanks are separate from the tanks used to supply water to occupants, which are usually called domestic water tanks. Designers will also try and ensure that the water in the fire tanks does not get stagnant and develop algae, which could clog the pipes and pumps, rendering the system useless in a fire.

Fire Pumping System

Fire pumps are usually housed in a pump room very close to the fire tanks. The key thing is that the pumps should be located at a level just below the bottom of the fire tank, so that all the water in the tanks can flow into the pumps by gravity. Like all important systems, there must be backup pumps in case the main pump fails. There is a main pump that is electric, a backup pump that is electric, and a second backup pump that is diesel-powered, in case the electricity fails, which is common. Each of these pumps is capable of pumping the required amount of water individually – they are identical in capacity.

The distribution System

The distribution system consists of steel or galvanised steel pipes that are painted red. These can be welded together to make secure joints, or attached with special clamps. When running underground, they are wrapped with a special coating that prevents corrosion and protects the pipe.

Control Panels

The panel receives information from devices designed to detect and report fires, monitors their operational integrity and provides for automatic control of equipment, and transmission of information necessary to prepare the facility for fire based on a predetermined sequence. The panel may also supply electrical energy to operate any associated initiating device, notification appliance, control, transmitter, or relay. There are four basic types of panels: coded panels, conventional panels, addressable panels, and multiplex systems.