In Early Suppression Fast Response (ESFR) roof/ceiling mounted sprinklers can be used in warehouses in place of in-rack fire sprinkler systems. ESFR provides protection that exceeds that of in-rack systems.

With ESFR sprinkler heads further away from the fire than the sprinkler heads in an in-rack system, how is that possible? The answer lies in the three ways ESFR systems differ from conventional systems: speed, volume and droplet size.

ESFR sprinkler heads sense a fire and begin spraying water in half the time of conventional heads. The sooner the system starts to fight the fire, the smaller the fire will be – so it is more likely that the ESFR system will be capable of controlling the fire promptly.

Conventional heads discharge water at a rate of about 90 to 100 Litres per minute (lpm). ESFR heads can discharge water at a rate of 680lpm per minute.

Droplet size
ESFR heads emit larger droplets of water with greater momentum than conventional heads. When extra water is forced through conventional heads, it tends to come out as a mist and a greater percentage evaporates than when conventional heads flow at a normal rate. ESFR heads not only output larger amounts of water, but a greater share of the water reaches the fire, supporting the extinguishing process. Conventional systems are generally not designed to extinguish a fire, but rather to keep it from spreading by ‘wetting’ the area around the fire. These three factors build upon each other to increase ESFR’s efficiency. By detecting the fire sooner, discharging more water and increasing the likelihood of the water reaching the fire due to the larger the droplet size, ESFR systems can compensate for the sprinkler heads located within the storage racking.

Who can use ESFR?
For many (but not all) categories of product, ESFR technology can be used in warehouses with storage that does not exceed 10.7m (35 feet) in overall height and with a ceiling height that averages 12.2m (40 feet) or less. You will need to confirm with your insurance company and local authorities (i.e. fire and building inspectors) that ESFR is appropriate for the product being stored in your facility.