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Case Study: Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin

Historical Collection Protected by WAGNER's Extinguishing Technology

WAGNER protects the wet and dry collections of the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin from fires since the reconstruction 2010. The fire protection expert installed aspirating smoke detectors for early fire detection and the FirExting® gas extinguishing system.

To ensure that the animal specimens in the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin are reliably protected, WAGNER worked with the fire department and experts to develop a sophisticated fire protection concept for the seven extinguishing areas ranging in size from 68 to 2,976 m² on different floors. Thanks to highly sensitive and false-alarm-proof fire detection, countermeasures can be taken at an early stage in the event of fire detection. The automatic gas extinguishing system, which is also inconspicuous to museum visitors, ensures immediate containment of the fire without causing consequential damage to the exhibits. Fire extinguishing with inert gas provides comprehensive protection for the valuable collection.

The design of the inert gas fire extinguishing system was carried out in accordance with the EN standard for stationary fire-fighting systems ISO 14520 (EN 15004-1) taking into account NFPA 2001 as well as in extracts according to the guidelines of VdS Schadenverhütung, Cologne, Fire extinguishing systems with non-liquefied inert gases and BGR 134/ BGI 888 (published by the Verband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften).

The Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin is not only one of the largest natural history museums in Germany, but also an important natural history research institution. Around 30 million animal specimens of inestimable scientific and cultural value are collected here for research purposes. The Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin houses scientific collections of mineralogical, geological and zoological objects. National and international scientists value the holdings at the museum. Whether snakes, snails, lizards, frogs, spiders or fish: some of the animal specimens are more than 200 years old and are used to research the history of life's development.

After part of the museum was destroyed during World War 2, the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin was rebuilt in 2010. Museum visitors can admire the historic, unique wet collection of alcohol-preserved animal specimens on the first floor of the east wing and thus gain an authentic insight into the research work.

Gas Extinguishing System Protects History Exhibits from Fire Damage

Risk Analysis

  • Fire loads
    The animal preparations are preserved in 70 per cent ethanol, which is highly flammable.
  • High value concentration
    The unique museum and research materials are stored in a very small area, which can accelerate the spread of fire.
  • Human error
    Human error can cause fires to start.
alkoholkonservierte Tierpräparate sind ein Brandrisiko
Nasssammlung des Naturkundemuseum Berlin wird von WAGNER vor Bränden geschützt

Protection Goals

  • No extinguishing water
    A water-based extinguishing system should not be used in order not to destroy the inscriptions of the research collection.
  • Exhibit protection
    The historically valuable collection must not be endangered or damaged by the consequences of fire.
  • Rapid fire fighting
    The extinguishing device shall be effective immediately in case of fire.
  • Aesthetics
    During installation, the fabric of the building should be preserved as much as possible, as should the aesthetics of the rooms for visitors.

Individual and Holistic Fire Extinguishing System for Multiple Areas

Highly sensitive and false-alarm-proof air sampling smoke detectors of the brand TITANUS® detect smoke at a very early stage and thus provide a time advantage in the fight against fire.

After detection, the fire detection control panel switches off the room ventilation and the protected area is flooded with extinguishing gas. The FirExting® gas extinguishing system extinguishes quickly and without residue. The extinguishing gas is stored underground in a separate fire extinguishing system control centre. It is fed into the areas to be protected through pipelines. The pipelines run concealed in ducts and shafts, and the extinguishing nozzles in the SILENT version are also hidden underneath the ceiling and shelves behind protective and baffle plates. Pressure relief flaps ensure optimum distribution of the pressure in the room so that the valuable glasses with the exhibits cannot topple over. A hold time is provided to prevent backfiring.

Customer Benefits

  • Certified
    The WAGNER gas extinguishing system has been tested by experts and has VdS certification.
  • Fast
    Damage can be minimised or prevented by early alerting and immediate flooding of the protected area with extinguishing gas.
  • Protective
    The extinguishing gas nitrogen is non-toxic and residue-free. The scientific collections are not damaged by the extinguishing process.
  • Space saving
    The fire-fighting system is installed underground and thus invisible to visitors.

Customer testimonial

Dr. Peter Bartsch, Head of department and curator responsible for the collection of the Museum of Natural History

For the storage and presentation of our wet collection, we needed an innovative [fire protection] solution that meets high functional and aesthetic requirements.