In-Rack Sprinkler System
Warehouse fires are extremely challenging; they spread quickly and have immense increases in heat release rate over a short period of time. This is especially true when the fire involves commodities such as flammable liquids, paper, and exposed plastics. In-rack fire sprinkler systems are specifically designed for the protection of racked storage areas in warehouses.
In-rack fire sprinklers will not prevent a fire from starting, in fact they rely on the heat generated by the fire to trigger them, but they will help contain the fire to a specific area, and extinguish it. This in turn limits fire damage and will reduce the risk to life from fire.
While ESFR Sprinkler Systems will sometimes eliminate the need for In-Rack sprinklers, certain storage configurations or building construction types will not allow the use of ESFR sprinklers. Typically when storage of non-combustible or normal combustibles exceeds 40 feet in height or the building exceeds 45 feet in height ESFR sprinklers cannot be employed as a protection scheme. In-Rack sprinklers can then be employed to provide an adequate means of protection as a solution. This arrangement incorporates the installation of sprinklers on a network of piping installed within the rack storage structure. In some cases this has allowed the installation of rack structures in buildings as high as 100 feet where the building roof has been supported by the rack structure itself. In-rack sprinklers are utilized extensively in automated rack structures which employ the use of mechanized picking equipment that is computer controlled to store and retrieve pallet loads of material.
In-rack sprinklers provide additional protection within rack structures with spacing that can vary between 10 and 25 feet vertically between lines of sprinklers. Since there are more sprinklers installed within the rack structure and they are relatively close together vertically there is a reduced water demand for the operation of these sprinklers then is required by a typical ESFR sprinkler. A typical in-rack sprinkler will operate at 30gpm vs. the 100gpm discharged from an ESFR sprinkler. In-rack sprinklers may not allow for the same flexibility in rack storage configurations that ESFR sprinklers provide they do however allow for more height of storage then ESFR sprinklers and that can be important given the foot print size of a building.
In-rack sprinkler systems are a good choice for warehouses with rack storage. Contact WNY Fire Protection for your warehouse fire sprinkler system needs.