Power outages are not uncommon even to major metropolitan and developed cities. Extreme weather and natural disasters are the most common causes, then there are issues with the power network and an assortment of other contributing factors. Because it does happen often enough, many homes and businesses have installed emergency generators on site. Fortunately, it does not happen anywhere near as much as the power outages, but there some reasons that can cause a generator to ignite fires, but with fire suppression, generator owners can sleep easy. If a business loses power, it can cost you with the lost productivity, revenue, and data. But with a well engineered generator, you don’t have to take such a hit.
Reasons Your Business Should Have a Commercial Generator
All businesses should consider a generator, especially if your local area is prone to outages. Generators are:
– More cost effective to have your own generator than lose out on significant revenue.
– If your business requires sufficient power to provide services or products.
– Businesses that if not powered can negatively impact the community.
Protection from Generator Fires
Where generators come in handy for many businesses, they can still be a challenge to operate and are a frequent sources of fires. Between the years of 2001 and 2007 the estimated average structure fires not inflicted on residential homes caused by generators was over 300 a year causing an annual average damage of $58 million according to NFPA reports. Due to the generators producing potential fires, many people opt to install fixed fire protection systems; doing so will minimize the damage if the generator does catch on fire.
Generator Fire Safety
The surfaces of the engine and exhaust system during the generators operation, can exceed the auto-ignition temperature of the fluids within the generator. When those fluids such as diesel fuel or engine oil, leak or spray onto hot surfaces, they can easily cause a fire is a challenge for sprinklers alone to extinguish. If oxygen is produced from heavy ventilation and open dampers, it will promote air flow, increasing the risk. Not only can generator fires threaten the safety of the people within the building, it can also disable the backup power system enough so that the support of the emergency power needs of the facility is hindered. Having a failsafe is essential.
Generator Fire Detection
Generator fires are generally fast flaming fires. With detection technical capabilities, heat or flame caused by the fire is monitored. Heat detection is the first priority. Where smoke is also detected, it is not the first consideration. Heat detectors are not only reliable, but also economical, and allows for early detection. Optical flame detectors for automatic fire detection are often a selected feature on generators because they are fast and effective.
Generator Room Fire Suppression
For dedicated generator rooms, four primary factors are implemented and they are:
Ventilation – Cooling and combustion air within the space adequacy.
Delivery – Flammable and combustible liquid delivery.
Storage – Class A combustibles storage in the room.
Equipment Tolerance – Fire resistant to avoid damage to due to suppression system operation.
Fire Suppression Systems in Containerized Diesel Generators
Traditionally, there have been a handful of options of system types that have been used: sprinkler, AFFF foam sprinkler, carbon dioxide, clean agent, and water mist. The water mist method is more often preferred because of the protection it offers for both indoor and outdoor generator rooms. For generator protection, the water mist systems are FM Approved and have proven most effective in fire testing. Ventilation and the inability to make generator rooms airtight are addressed with water systems as well as having the capability to extinguish pool fires of diesel fuel storage and delivery systems. Additionally, the water systems do not inflict any damage to the generator equipment when they perform their function.