Smoke in a fire’s smouldering stage can be detected based on particles in the air, and gases and flames can be detected using sensors that have ultraviolet or infra-red detectors. As soon as the detection systems detect irregularities, the automatic extinguishing system is activated, people are warned, the evacuation starts and operational processes shut down.
Extinguishing in the petrochemical industry is a different story. The use of water is almost always out of the question because the combination with chemical substances often only increases the danger. As extinguishing agents, foam, gas (such as CO2) and water mist are available, but there isn’t a standard solution that dictates the use of a specific extinguishing agent for a particular process. To find the ideal solution, our engineers discuss various options with experts from the plant. Sometimes, a third party (such as TNO) is involved as well. After two years, this solution is evaluated again to see whether it still satisfies the requirements and possibilities that apply at that moment. Because fire safety is not a product, it is a process.