Fire suppression systems are used to extinguish or prevent the spread of fire in buildings or vehicles. Automatic fire suppression systems control and extinguish fires without human intervention. Examples of automatic systems include a fire sprinkler system, gaseous fire suppression, and condensed aerosol fire suppression. When fires are extinguished in the early stages loss of life is minimal since 93% of all fire-related deaths occur once the fire has progressed beyond the early stages.
An automatic fire suppression system can operate without human intervention. To do so it must possess a means of detection, actuation, and delivery. In many systems, detection is accomplished by mechanical or electrical means. Mechanical detection uses fusible-link or thermo-bulb detectors. These detectors are designed to separate at a specific temperature and release the tension on a release mechanism. Electrical detection uses heat detectors equipped with self-restoring, normally-open contacts that close when a predetermined temperature is reached. Remote and local manual operation is also possible. Actuation usually involves either a pressurized fluid and a release valve or in some cases an electric pump. Delivery is accomplished by means of piping and nozzles. The nozzle design is specific to the agent used and coverage desired.