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Automotive paint spray booths spraying flammable/combustible liquids are the power-ventilated structures which are actively used to provide the spraying operations because of the structures’ purpose to avoid the escape of the hazardous spray and to limit vapors with the help of the exhaust systems.
Following the International Building Code, “307.4 defines Class I, II, or IIIA flammable liquids used or stored in closed containers or systems pressurized at more than 15 psi, (paint spraying), to be High-Hazard Group H-2” (“A Guide to ICC Spray Booth Codes”).
Thus, referring to this code, it is possible to recommend the appropriate fire protection system for the automotive paint spray booths spraying flammable/combustible liquids used and located in Fargo, North Dakota.
The Classification of the Risks and Recommended Systems
The classification of the risk associated with spraying in the booths as High-Hazard is connected with the character of the sources of ignition within the spraying areas which are often the determined as the use of electrical equipment and inadequate ventilation.
Thus, the use of the electrical equipment which does not meet the appropriate standards increases the risk of the fire within the spraying areas. Furthermore, the fire hazards are also associated with the operation of the inadequate ventilation systems which are often used in spray booths. The failures in operating the ventilation systems also contribute to the rapid spread of the fire (“A Guide to ICC Spray Booth Codes”).
As a result, the fire and the situation of the hazardous spray and vapors’ escape can cause the fire and health problems within the community. According to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the spray booths should be protected with the help of the automatic sprinklers (Ferguson and Janicak 163).
That is why referring to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards (NFPA 13 Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems and NFPA 33 Standard for the Spray Application Using Flammable and Combustible Materials), it is necessary to recommend such a fire suppression system as the automatic sprinkler system based on using water.
Installation of the Automatic Sprinkler System
Modern automatic sprinkler systems are based on the use of the wet pipe with references to the available sufficient water supply. The maximum pressure of the water supply in 45 PSI is appropriate for the system.
To respond to the NFPA standards, the spray booth should be constructed from the non-combustible materials and be located in more than 3 ft. from the other operations and systems. Moreover, the booth should be rounded by the clear space to contribute to the fire protection and avoid the extreme spread of the fire (Ferguson and Janicak 162).
Sprinklers planned to be located inside the booth should be placed about the special spacing, which is of 90 square feet. Furthermore, “the system should include a separate indicating shut-off valve so that the entire sprinkler system does not have to be shut off if there is a fire in the booth” (“Fire Protection in Spray Booths”). It is necessary to clean the sprinkler heads daily to monitor their appropriate functioning.
The installation of the fixed extinguishing system near and within the spraying areas should be realized along with providing the portable fire extinguishers. Moreover, “No Smoking” signs should be fixed near the spraying areas to provide the employees and clients with the necessary information about the fire risks.
The Testing, Inspection, and Maintenance of the System
The automatic sprinkler system based on the use of water supplies should be tested and maintained appropriately. It is necessary to inspect the sprinkler heads regularly and change any painted ones with the new sprinklers to guarantee effective fire protection.
Ventilation should be inspected, tested, and improved along with the sprinkler system because of the necessity to avoid the concentration of vapors within the spraying areas and booths which contribute to spreading the fire (“Fire Protection in Spray Booths”).
The inspection of the system should be realized not only at a regular base but also with involving the specialists in the sphere to monitor and control possible problems in operating the system. Furthermore, the installation of the associated alarm system is also necessary to contribute to the work of the approved automatic sprinkler system (“Fire Protection in Spray Booths”).
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The Advantages of Using Water as the Agent
Water is the traditional agent used in the automatic sprinkler systems for overcoming the fires caused by the drawbacks in the ventilation systems of the automotive paint spray booths spraying flammable/combustible liquids because of the appropriate pressure of the used water supplies and water qualities to stop the fire immediately after being sprinkled in the spraying areas.
That is why there are many advantages of using the traditional sprinkle systems base on the water resources instead of modern dry chemicals because of the availability of the resources and the easiness of installing and operating such a fire protection system (“Fire Protection in Spray Booths”).
A Guide to ICC Spray Booth Codes. 2013. Web. 07 Dec. 2013. <http://www.finishingconsultants.com/images/BoothCodes082905.pdf>.
Ferguson, Lon, and Christopher Janicak. Fundamentals of Fire Protection for the Safety Professional. USA: Government Institutes, 2005. Print.
Fire Protection in Spray Booths. 1999. Web. 07 Dec. 2013. <http://www.nfsa.tv/info_items/FireProtectioninSprayBooths.pdf>.