There is a misconception throughout the Power, Process, and HVAC industries that cooling towers are basically resistant to fire because they are by nature wet. This technical paper will explain in detail the facts about fires in cooling towers. It will address and clarify terminology, such as fire retardant vs. flame spread, and other misconceptions and misinterpretations. After terminology is defined, this paper will address Factory Mutual (FM) Approval and the costs and advantages of this program. We will define FM and present the strict program that has to be completed to gain this accreditation. The paper will discuss how FM Approval results in savings in insurance premiums. This paper will also review the many standards that govern all types of fire protection systems and testing procedures. Some of these standards are: EM-119, Testing Procedures; MFPA-13, Sprinkler Installations; NFPA-214, Sprinkler/Firewalls; CTI Chapter 12, Fire Protection; and NFPA-251, Testing of Materials Procedures.
13-01: Fire Protection in FRP Cooling Towers
James L. Baker, Composite Cooling Solutions, LP