Deluge systems use large amounts of water to douse entire areas in order to prevent the spread of fire in a hazardous location. While they can be located in any room possessing hazardous materials or high ceilings, this type of system is also installed in building openings or paths utilized by personnel to deter flames from spreading. A system of this kind is beneficial to any location where fire may spread quickly, water must be applied through simultaneous sprinkler activation over a sizable hazard immediately, and excessive water will not damage a room's valuable contents.
Deluge systems are ideal for rooms containing highly hazardous materials, including flammable liquids, chemicals or explosives. Buildings with high ceilings such as aircraft hangars are also good choices for this type of system since their architecture can make suppressing flames with enough force difficult. Deluge systems are similar to wet pipe systems, except that they use open sprinkler heads and dry pipes that connect directly to a main water supply and their sprinklers do not contain heat-sensing elements. Unlike wet pipe systems, in this type of system, all sprinklers are activated at once, resulting in the “deluge” of its name.
A typical deluge system is comprised of control valves, a detection system and a dedicated main water supply. Since deluge sprinklers do not contain heat-sensing elements, a smoke, heat, or optical flame detector is used to signal the fire alarm panel. Such a device can also be activated manually by a pneumatic or electric fire alarm pull station. When the fire detection device is activated either automatically or manually, it opens the mechanically latched main valve, known as a deluge valve. Once tripped, the valve sends water gushing through the sprinklers, and remains open until manually reset.