Hybrid suppression systems are a new fire suppression technology used to protect a variety of spaces ranging from machinery enclosures to computer server rooms. These new hybrid systems utilize both an inert gas (typically nitrogen) as well as a fine water mist to provide fire suppression and/or extinguishment more efficiently than standalone inert gas or water mist systems.
Recently, the industry has brought hybrid suppression technology to the public, in the form of two commercial fire suppression systems. Despite the growing interest in the hybrid suppression technology, including FM Approval’s release of FM Approval Standard 5580 for Hybrid Fire Extinguishing System, there is not an NFPA Standard that governs such a system’s installation, inspection, or application. Because hybrid suppression systems resemble water mist or inert gas systems in many aspects, this has posed the question of whether or not a hybrid suppression system can be standardized as a water mist, inert gas, or whether it should be listed as a new system classification. This decision greatly affects the way a hybrid suppression system is installed and used.
The NFPA Fire Protection Research Foundation employed the University of Maryland’s Fire Protection Engineering Department to research the existing literature, tests, and approvals from various manufacturers and insurers. The report, a "Literature Review on Hybrid Fire Suppression Systems" authored by Peter Raia, Michael J. Gollner was then developed.
Since the technology is new to the market, there is not a lot of information regarding hybrid suppression systems. However, the information found provided some information on how a hybrid suppression system should be classified and whether or not the new technology may deserve its own standard or not.