Automatic Fire Sprinklers
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04-10-2010, 04:36 PM
An Introduction to Automatic Fire Sprinklers
by Nick Artim
Museum management is entrusted with the responsibility of protecting and preserving the institution's collections, operations and occupants. Constant attention is required to minimize adverse impact due to climate, pollution, theft, vandalism, insects, mold and fire. Because of the speed and totality of its destructive forces, fire constitutes one of the more serious threats.
Collections must be safeguarded from fire. Vandalized or environmentally damaged objects can be repaired and stolen objects recovered, however, fire destroyed items are gone forever. An uncontrolled fire can obliterate an entire room's contents within a few minutes and completely burnout a building in a couple hours.
Fire protection experts generally agree that automatic sprinklers represent the single, most significant aspect of a fire management program. Properly designed, installed, and maintained systems can overcome deficiencies in risk management, building construction, and emergency response. They may also enhance the flexibility of building design and use by increasing the overall safety.
Nonetheless, sprinklers frequently cause considerable debate among museum facility experts. Typical concerns include the potential for inadvertent operation, increased damage due to water release, and aesthetic impact. As a result many museums and historic houses have avoided fire sprinkler protection.
This article will present an overview of sprinkler systems including system types, components, operations, and common anxieties.
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