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Fire prevention in cold storage facilities

Prevent fires rather than regulating damage

Intelligent and reliable fire protection systems that can withstand the extreme conditions inside deep-freeze storage facilities ensure preservation of the supply chain, and protect cold and deep-freeze warehouses against fire-related downtime.

Conventional systems quickly reach their limits in such situations, such as sprinklers, whose extinguishing water must be mixed with antifreeze. As a result, goods are lost not only to fire, smoke and soot, but also to extinguishing water contamination. This creates long-term obstacles to delivery capability, as operations are hindered by what is often long and complicated cleaning work. Logistics centres’ great structural heights of up to 40 metres mean that many extinguishing systems are slow to respond - by the time the extinguishing water reaches the source of the fire, a great deal of valuable damage-prevention time has been lost.

Dual active fire protection in deep-freeze storage facilities - preventing fire risks from the outset

WAGNER’s OxyReduct® active fire prevention system offers cold storage facilities reliable preventative protection. It feeds nitrogen into the protected area to minimise fire risk from the outset by creating a protective oxygen-reduced atmosphere, one in which residual oxygen levels are kept below the ignition thresholds of the materials under protection. Because the system uses nitrogen, a natural component of the ambient air from which it is generated, it has no negative effects on frozen goods, which are usually stored food products. Ice cream, frozen vegetables, fruit, fish, meat - whatever the cold or deep-freeze storage facility holds, it will be safe from fire and related damage. Depending on the protection concept used, the storage facility can remain fully accessible to employees without restrictions. The high building-shell density typical of cold storage facilities ensures that the protective atmosphere can be maintained in a very energy efficient way.

Legal requirements for fire protection in cold storage facilities

Building laws specify that fire protection measures must

• prevent fires from breaking out

• limit the development and spread of fire and smoke in the event of fire

• and ensure that the fire brigade will be able to conduct rescue and extinguishing work.

This serves the objective of protecting life, health, and livelihoods.

The Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health also requires operators to take safety precautions to protect their business operations. Operators / business owners should also have an interest in

• preventing property damage due to fires,

• limiting operational interruptions and subsequent costs,

• preventing damage to company image,

• and ensuring production and delivery capability to the greatest extent possible even in the event of fire.

Once the protection objectives for fire protection in a deep-freeze storage facility have been defined, they should be incorporated into a holistic fire protection concept. Comprehensive fire protection concepts also account for protection objectives going above and beyond legal requirements in order to meet the operator’s safety and security standards. Preventative organisational, structural, and technical fire protection measures need to be combined with active fire prevention measures. It is advisable to involve specialist planners and fire protection companies right from the planning stages, so that a fire protection concept can be developed early on.

Fire detection systems in deep-freeze storage facilities - a crucial head start

Detecting fires early on is not only a question of how sensitive the smoke detector is: more than anything, it is a question of the underlying principle. Generally speaking, air sampling smoke detectors are comprised of a detection unit connected to a network of pipes. The detection unit uses vacuum pressure to draw continuous air samples from the entire room through the sampling points in the pipe system. The false alarm-proof system can detect even the smallest traces of smoke particles reliably. WAGNER’s TITANUS® family of air sampling smoke detection systems are designed for use in temperatures as low as -40 °C, and can be equipped with optional features such as dust filters, three-stage alarms, and patented air sampling point clips that resist even ice formation.

Air sampling smoke detectors protect both rooms and equipment, and are up to 2,000 times more sensitive than conventional point-type detectors - so smouldering or open fires can be detected at the earliest possible stage, even in difficult-to-access areas such as along storage racks or at great heights.

Combining systems

A supplementary FirExting® gas extinguishing system, which puts out fires efficiently and with no residue, can be employed to suppress fires and prevent them from spreading.

VisuLAN® risk management makes it possible to monitor and manage a variety of building technology, communications, and security systems centrally. This minimises security risks and operating errors, and makes it possible to take appropriate emergency response action quickly, in order to prevent more serious damage.