The protection of archives and museums poses particular demands in terms of the fire detection and extinguishing technology used. These buildings house artistic works of a high material and non-material value which would be irreparably lost in the event of a fire. Moreover, the majority of these objects are highly flammable (paper, paints, etc.) and therefore present a high fire load.
When planning the fire detection and extinguishing system, the following must be taken into consideration:
- The fire must be detected as early as possible, otherwise it may take hold and spread.
- The extinguishing technology used must not damage the stored objects.
The fire protection system for a museum or archive could therefore be designed as follows:
- An “early detection” of the source of the fire, even before it breaks out, through the installation of an aspirating smoke detector.
- An efficient extinguishing system which causes no, or very minimal, water damage. In this instance, the use of water mist systems or a gas extinguishing system for archives, is recommended. These applications are primarily used to protect large rooms. Inert gases (argon, nitrogen or mixed gases) are used for cost reasons.
Archives and museums