The primary purpose for all fire suppression systems manufactured globally is the protection of life and property. While configuration of these systems can differ based on the system components, the extinguishing agent and the environment in which the system is used, the objective remains consistent.
One of the key components in a fire suppression system is the releasing device that mechanically initiates the discharge of the extinguishing agent that will combat the fire. Many systems utilize an electric actuator as the system’s releasing device. Two common forms of this electric actuator are a latching solenoid actuator and a direct-acting solenoid. The releasing device is attached to the discharge valve on the cylinder storing the suppressant and is electrically connected to the fire alarm control panel. Once the actuator or solenoid receives an electrical signal, it will deploy, causing the release valve to dispense the extinguishing agent into the system.
Fire suppression systems are highly effective for extinguishing fires but are also open to potential failures due to human error during installation, routine maintenance or functional testing of the system’s releasing devices. If an actuator is not properly installed onto the discharge valve, it will not operate correctly to dispense the extinguishing agent, resulting in a system failure. Without an installation supervisory signal between the releasing device and fire panel there is no indication of proper installation leaving the responsibility of accurate installment solely on the technician who removed the actuator for maintenance or testing purposes. Industry regulators quickly recognized that adding supervisory requirements to the releasing device would provide for the necessary alarm (both visually and audibly) to alert the technician on whether the actuator was correctly installed and in the right position for proper system functionality.