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  • Writer's pictureRAN FPE

What Are Mist Systems? A Deep Dive

RAN Fire Protection Engineering was recently featured in a press release by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. In the press release, RAN was recognized for our work at the John Jay Homestead State Historic Site and our design of a high-pressure water mist suppression system. Although water mist systems are mainly used in historical buildings to preserve the history within the walls, they can be featured in a variety of other environments as well. This includes data centers, print rooms, industrial facilities, and other areas with high value equipment that would be devastated by fire and water damage. In this newsletter we will be highlighting water mist systems in industrial facilities and how significant loss is prevented.

RAN has had extensive experience with water mist systems in a variety of environments. One of our principal engineers, Chris Crivello, is considered an expert on water mist systems due to his research and project experience, from having designed one of the largest gas driven water mist systems in the country to presenting on water mist system design at the national level. Our engineers are equipped to determine whether a water mist system would be beneficial for a project, and we are qualified for all the designs that follow for the project at hand. With all the experience and knowledge that the RAN team has gained with their time on projects involving high-pressure water mist systems, we are confident that we can identify when a water mist system is necessary to protect and preserve.

Before we get into water mist systems in industrial facilities, we need to understand what water mist systems are and how they operate. Water mist systems are fixed fire protection systems that discharge very fine water droplets. An extremely fine mist is generated due to the force of the water through the nozzles at a high-pressure. The water droplets that are discharged through the mist system remove the heat and displace the oxygen from the fire causing the fire to be suppressed. In other words, the water mist system essentially starves the fire of the oxygen that it needs to continuously burn. These systems are installed like sprinklers, but the water droplets cover a larger surface area than sprinkler systems.

The water mist systems are especially helpful in industrial facilities where valuable and expensive equipment is present. Since high-pressure water mist systems use 80% to 90% less water than a sprinkler system, there is a greater chance of saving your equipment and preventing a total loss. In situations where equipment is sensitive to water and preservation is crucial, a water mist system is one of the best options. After the fire has been put out by firefighters and the building is deemed safe to reenter, the equipment can then be accessed, and it can be determined if it was a total loss due to the fire or if it was saved by mist systems. If the equipment was spared, the use of less water allows for less saturation and potential salvation of the equipment. When dealing with equipment and inventory, a solid preservation system in place can potentially save an industrial facility thousands, if not millions, of dollars. The goal of the water mist system is to protect the bones and structure of the building, all while preserving the contents and elements inside the building.


Below is an example of a high-pressure water mist system that was designed by RAN for an industrial facility:

Finch Bark Processing Building

Glens Falls, NY

Client: Finch Paper, LLC

Finch is a privately held pulp and paper manufacturer located in Glens Falls, NY. They provide customers with affordable products that are made with environmental integrity and deliver personal service that will be respected and remembered. Finch also serves a variety of markets ranging from commercial printing to labels and packaging. For over 150 years, Finch has helped customers adapt to fast, flexible, and expansive papermaking and product development. They are continuously growing and developing their products for their consumers.

RAN Fire Protection Engineering developed a building program report providing both suppression and detection options for the bark processing building. Services included an in-depth analysis and design documents for a local application high-pressure water mist system. It was determined that this was the most optimal solution for suppression in the event of a fire. As a result, minimal damage can be expected when it comes to protecting the equipment. In this case, the equipment includes conveyor belts and electro-magnets. The fire alarm system was designed to tie into the existing fire alarm system at the Finch industrial campus. RAN also reviewed existing drawings and specifications of fire protection installation and modifications for this project. The building program report provided recommendations for possible future work, as well as resolution possibilities based on the information gathered during the investigation.

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