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Case Study: Senckenberg Museum

Customized Fire Protection Solutions for Unique Preparations

Whether ornithology (birds), mammalogy (mammals) or herpetology (amphibians and reptiles): the main building of the Senckenberg Museum is home to the sometimes unique, irreplaceable specimens for which the Frankfurt Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum has been undergoing extensive renovation and expansion work since 2009. For this purpose, the rooms were equipped with extensive fire detection and a FirExting® gas extinguishing system with argon.

Fire Protection with Noble Gas

About the Project

During the renovation of the Senckenberg Museum, numerous natural history collections moved to new premises. These included many of the specimens from ornithology, mammalogy and herpetology preserved in alcohol. Due to the preservation in alcohol, the specimens pose a particular fire risk.

About the Customer

The "Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung" has remained true to its motto: to research and to bring the results to the public. With its science, collections and museums, the association has an outstanding position in German biodiversity research.

Risk Analysis

  • High fire load
    The collection is preserved in alcohol and therefore poses a higher fire risk.
  • Rapid fire spread
    The alcohol used for preservation contributes to a more rapid fire spread.
  • Premises
    Different storage rooms with a wide variety of stored goods makes it difficult to find a standardized solution.

Protection Goals

  • Property protection
    The stored specimens, some of which are irretrievable, must be sustainably protected for science and museum visitors.
  • Fire protection
    No fire must be allowed to break out, as the alcohol in the vessels would promote the rapid spread of fire.
  • Personal protection
    Employees must be protected from fire in the best possible way.

Noble Gas for Fire Fighting

The solution for the fire protection requirements of the Senckenberg Museum is a FirExting® gas extinguishing system with argon. In combination with the earliest possible fire detection, this prevents the partly unique, irreplaceable specimens in the collections of ornithology (birds), mammalogy (mammals) and herpetology (amphibians and reptiles) in the main building, which was built in 1908 and is a listed building, from being destroyed by fire.

In herpetology, the specific properties of the extinguishing gas argon are particularly advantageous: a large proportion of the specimens are preserved in alcohol. If the containers were damaged in a fire, the alcohol would collect on the floor in pools and promote rapid fire spread. This can be prevented by using the FirExting® gas extinguishing system. The extinguishing gas argon is heavier than air due to its high specific gravity and is therefore ideal for extinguishing areas with fire loads close to the ground.

Customer Benefits

  • Safe
    VdS approved and certified fire protection solution; Reliable protection of unique, irreplaceable preparations.
  • Flexible
    Flexible planning scope: fire protection solution can be flexibly adapted to new conditions in the event of expansion.
  • Clean
    Extinguishing gas leaves no residues in the shelters, consequential damage caused by the extinguishing gas can thus be ruled out.
  • Efficient
    Low operating costs - high energy efficiency in use.

Further Information

The main building of the Frankfurt Senckenberg Research Institute and Nature Museum, which is a listed building, was erected in 1908. Due to limited storage space, it was extensively expanded from 2009 onwards.

Since the start of the extensive remodeling and expansion of the Frankfurt Senckenberg Research Institute and Nature Museum in 2009, 22 million collection objects have been moved, air-conditioned collection rooms and laboratories have been built, and modern work spaces have been created. This makes it Senckenberg's largest construction project to date. In 2018, the Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung celebrated the completion of the conversion.