The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is housed in London’s Middlesex Guildhall, a Grade II listed building in Westminster Parliament Square. At the heart of the building is the magnificent Law Library, for the use of Justices and their assistants. To protect the library and its historic collection, the Ministry of Justice required a fast-acting fire suppression solution that would blend in with the antique setting.

Following competitive evaluation and extensive testing, Fireworks’ watermist solutions were selected for this project. Fireworks’ watermist solutions provide fast-acting, localised fire suppression using only very small amounts of water. This makes them ideal for protecting facilities that store large amounts of documents, such as libraries and archives.

Pressurised watermist is proven under controlled independent testing to offer the fastest suppression of fire and heat. It is also the only fire protection system to dramatically reduce the spread of smoke – the biggest cause of casualties and damage to property during fires.

Blending fire suppression into a historic setting

The Supreme Court Law Library is a triple-height room, lined with dark wood bookcases and panelling. Antique portraits and carved stone masonry complete the effect.

The requirement for minimal visual impact of the fire suppression system was easily satisfied by incorporating the nozzles into an existing suspended light rail. The system’s water supply piping was hidden above the bookcases and behind architectural wall mountings.

Watermist is the most compact and efficient fire suppression solution, with much smaller and fewer components than other systems. Very small diameter pipes are used and our skilled teams of designers and engineers can shape and form these to fit into practically any corner – or around a bookcase, or display cabinet. Watermist nozzles can even be customised to match the colour of your wall or background, to blend almost imperceptibly into your rooms and spaces.

All of these factors make Fireworks’ watermist solutions ideal for retrofitting into historic buildings.

How watermist fire suppression works

When protecting archives, libraries and museums, smoke and/or heat sensors are used to detect fire at the very early stages. This sends a signal to the compact but powerful watermist pump which drives the system. The water supply can be provided by the mains water supply, or a dedicated water tank. The pump and water supply are connected to a series of watermist nozzles, via 316-grade stainless steel pipes which can be as narrow as 12mm. Only the nozzle at the affected area is activated in the event of a fire.

Water is forced through the nozzle at pressure to form a fine mist. The atomised water is drawn directly to the source of heat and has a two-fold extinguishing effect – it rapidly cools down the fire and starves the flames of oxygen. The mist also entraps airborne smoke particles, bringing them harmlessly to the ground.

For advice on fire protection for your library, museum, archives or historic building, contact 0800 975 7462.

water mist fire protection for archives and libraries


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