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VESDA Cold Rooms

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Why use VESDA Detection for Cold Storage Environments?

Refrigerated warehouses and cold storage facilities are temperature controlled environments that contain a wide range of inventory such as fresh and frozen foods, pharmaceuticals and pre-packaged product lines.
The ultra dry environment, and highly combustible nature of the insulation and packaging materials present a significant fire risk in these facilities. Reliable, very early smoke detection systems can assist in protecting these facilities and the associated stock assets from the threat of fire. Cold storage environments exhibit harsh climatic conditions. Their operating temperatures typically range between 8°C to -40°C (46°F to -40°F) resulting in extremely dry atmospheres so protecting them correctly is critical!

What are the risks in a Cold Store?

  1. Ignition hazards from electrical and mechanical faults from conveyor/transport equipment
  2. Lighting or hot spots caused by maintenance operations
  3. The fuel hazards from the highly combustible nature of polystyrene and polyurethane foams, wooden pallets and plastic wrapping. The low humidity levels of cold stores further exacerbate the heat release rate of burning materials

Other Environmental risks that need to be considered:

  1. High-bay storage racking can also affect the airflow and impede the detection and response to a fire event.
  2. The extreme temperatures of refrigerated storage facilities are a primary challenge to
    detecting a cold store fire as most forms of detection are not designed to operate in harsh climatic environments.
  3. High airflows created by blast chiller units and condensation (ice formation within the facility) can impede the operation of conventional passive detectors. Internationally recognized fire standards further state, that unless specified, smoke detectors should not be installed if the operating temperature is below 0°C (NFPA 721).

Why use VESDA instead of Water based protection?

  1. Water suppression i.e. sprinklers or other water based systems could be used in warehouse applications, however, they may be ineffective in cold storage environments. Reasons being that in the event of a fire, the activation of water can create environmental and occupational hazards, such as ice formation (black ice*).
  2. The release of water can also generate large amounts of dense fog, causing reduced visibility which may impede an appropriate fire brigade response.
  3. Contaminates within the sprinkler pipe work must be considered

Some of the real advantages of using VESDA detection

  1. To minimize damage and loss in cold stores, a fire must be detected at a very early stage. VESDAâ„¢s reliable, very early warning minimizes the likelihood of product loss (either from fire and/or contamination), facility damage and operational downtime.
  2. VESDA detectors can reliably detect smoke samples to a minimum temperature of -20° C(-18° F) and 0° C(-32° F) however, it is recommended that the air sample enters the detector at a temperature of 0° C(-32° F)
  3. Testing and maintenance is simplified by utilising measured tests, to measure actual system performance in a real smoke environment. No towers, no access equipment should be required, as all electronics (VESDA) detectors should be installed in accessible areas!
  4. With an extensive event log, we can measure smoke trends and identify and/orovercome ambient transient conditions.
  5. All pipe work designs can be verified using the VESDA Sampling Pipe Modeling Program  ASPIRE, before sample holes are drilled This program illustrates the significance of various parameters in an aspirating smoke detection, so that the most appropriate design can be applied!

VESDA Design Guides

For further information Fire Suppression Limited can provide detailed design guides, providing a comprehensive technical overview of utilizing VESDA detection in Cold rooms.

Fire Suppression is a leading distributor of VESDA products. In house design facilities are available, with next day supply for most products. VESDA training is available on request.

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