Why use an in-rack fire sprinkler system?

Why use an in-rack fire sprinkler system?

An in-rack fire sprinkler system is used to provide localised fire protection within individual racks or shelving units in a storage facility.

It is designed to suppress or control fires that may occur specifically within the rack area, reducing the risk of fire spread and minimising potential damage to goods, property, and personnel. Here are some reasons why an in-rack fire sprinkler system is beneficial:

Targeted fire protection: In-rack sprinkler systems are specifically designed to protect the contents of individual racks. By focusing on the immediate area of fire origin, they can quickly detect and suppress fires before they escalate and spread to adjacent racks. This targeted approach helps contain the fire and minimises the potential for significant damage.

Faster response time: In-rack sprinklers typically respond more quickly to fires compared to traditional ceiling-mounted sprinkler systems. They are strategically positioned at the top or within the racks, allowing them to detect and respond to fires in a shorter time frame. Rapid response can be crucial in preventing fire growth and limiting its impact.

Efficient water usage: In-rack sprinkler systems are designed to release water directly onto the fire source, minimising water wastage and optimising suppression effectiveness. By utilising water efficiently, these systems can effectively control fires while reducing water damage to surrounding areas and stored goods.

Flexibility and adaptability: In-rack sprinkler systems can be tailored to the specific needs and layout of a storage facility. They can be designed to accommodate different rack heights, configurations, and storage types. This flexibility ensures that each rack is adequately protected, maximising the efficiency of the sprinkler system.

Compliance with regulations: Many authorities and building codes require fire protection measures in storage facilities. In-rack sprinkler systems often fulfill these regulatory requirements, ensuring compliance and maintaining a safe working environment. By installing an in-rack system, facility owners can meet fire safety standards and mitigate potential liability risks.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides guidelines and standards for in-rack fire sprinkler systems through its NFPA 13: Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems.

Key points from NFPA 13 regarding in-rack fire sprinkler systems cover:

  • Design criteria - including the arrangement, location, and spacing of sprinklers within racks.
  • Sprinkler types - these may include upright or pendent sprinklers, as well as specialised sprinkler designs specifically intended for in-rack applications.
  • Rack height and configuration - including considerations for single-, double-, or multiple-row racks.
  • Clearance requirements - ensuring that the sprinkler's discharge pattern is not obstructed.
  • Water supply and hydraulic calculations - water supply requirements for in-rack sprinkler systems.
  • Inspection, testing, and maintenance - provides guidelines for conducting periodic inspections.

(Please consult the latest edition of NFPA 13 for the most up-to-date regulations).

It's important to note that in-rack sprinkler systems should be designed, installed, and maintained by professionals who are knowledgeable about fire protection systems. Proper maintenance and regular inspections are necessary to ensure the system remains operational and effective in the event of a fire.


To speak to us to find out more about in-rack fire sprinkler systems, please get in touch with our experienced team on 01748 825612, or alternatively email us at enquiries@richmondfire.co.uk   

Important Notice: Any opinion expressed in this column (blog, article) is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the official position of Richmond Fire Engineers Ltd. In addition, this piece is neither intended, nor should it be relied upon, to provide professional consultation or services.


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