Transformer fire is a fearsome thing to experience and witness. Transformers are of many sizes and are found at power stations, electricity grid distribution centers and near our homes. Nevertheless, they pose a serious and grave situation when they catch fire. According to the firefighting professionals, handling such cases is one of the toughest scenarios that they can handle.
Causes of Fire in Transformers
Major causes of fire in the transformer are Excessive heating, severe Short Circuits, Faulty coils and Oil leakage. So if any of the following factors are at play then chances of a transformer catching fire become big.
Transformer Fire Protection System-
There is no single fix it all solution for transformer fire protection. The reason being that transformers have highly customizable utility and their preventive security measures will largely depend upon the vicinity and nature of the area where they are deployed.
If we are going to install a large capacity transformer with a huge capacity of mineral oil then the surrounding area and equipment have to be made secure by adopting certain measures. These transformers will require a dedicated active fire suppression system to be installed.
As a precaution, if we already know that the facility has some fire hazard equipment or systems which are prone to catching fire, then it would be wise to place the transformer away from such area. So that in case of fire the nearby equipment is safe.
It becomes really essential to monitor and maintain the existing fire suppression and control measures of the facility when a heavy-duty transformer is installed in the vicinity. Chances are that in case the transformer catches fire the adjoining area will be affected by the fire too.
A proper maintenance schedule for the transformers should be in place. They should be checked regularly for oil levels and other similar parameters non-adherence to which can potentially result in the fire.
Provision of construction of firewalls should we say that firewalls between two adjacent transformers must be constructed. It creates a great protective barrier in case a disastrous fire occurs in the transformer.
The manpower should be trained to handle the fire suppression systems properly. This becomes crucial in case of emergencies and a lot of life and property can be saved by it.
Lastly, the area where the transformer is installed should have very limited access. This will automatically reduce the chances of fatalities in case of emergency.
The latest fire protection trend for transformers is the construction of bund walls. These bund walls contain the area of oil spillage and are filled with yard stones. We all know in event of transformer fire the oil would get heated. Hence the yard stone also acts as the cooling agent for the transformer oil.
The large area of bund will also help in containing the oil hence preventing the chances of excessive spillage. Therefore protecting the entire setup in one way. However, this type of containment area design would require regular monitoring and inspection for water. Having water in this zone can be really disastrous for the entire operation.