Coal Fired Power-2

Coal-Fired Power Plant

Coal-fired power plants are some of the oldest mass energy production plants in America. Some have been running for over 80 years and are still operating under the same conditions as the day they began. We know this technology has been rigorously tested by time, but there is a high risk of fire within a coal fire plant.

Coal-Powered Power Plant FAQs

What are the top technologies to consider when protecting a coal-fired power plant?

Protectowire is the industry standard when protecting coal-fired power plants. They make the most robust linear heat detection cables on the market. Most coal-fired plants have Protectowire protecting their conveyor belt systems even inside their control rooms. 

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Other suppression products used in coal-fired power plants should be chosen based on the type of coal used. Some coal is more volatile than others which means some plants need a special layer of suppression called F500. This is an encapsulating agent sometimes known as 3D. A normal fire fighting foam system is considered 2D because it creates a layer over the top of a surface to provide a blanket of oxygen and cooling. In contrast, F500 creates a full encapsulation all the way around the target giving a 3D effect around the coal substance to protect the facility.

Who is in charge of the facility?

The plant manager oversees everything inside the fence line. Generally, the plant manager is responsible for everything from procurement to the electrical output of the power plant. We may work with the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) officer and the fleet manager at larger plants. We also partner with the procurement team when working on solutions for a site with multiple facets of fire protection within one facility.

How important is safety at coal-fired power plants?

Safety is the number one priority. Generating electricity is important, but the safety of every person onsite is the most important. The ORR Protection team will always be properly trained when they go into the facility and have the necessary equipment. All of our industrial associates are equipped with full PPE including monitoring devices for hydrogen sulfide and fire resistant clothing. Knowing the environment and making sure our associates are fully aware of the safety issues and protocols is our top priority. We want our associates and our customers to be safe.

What makes coal-fired power plants unique in fire protection?

One of the things that makes coal-fired power plants unique is the control room and the electrical rooms. These are often the critical applications we must consider when developing a solution for a plant. These spaces typically need detection, clean agent fire suppression systems, and possibly an inerting system. Often in the electrical rooms where the switch gears operate we use early warning smoke detection or off-gas detection in order to detect threats in the earliest stages of an event. Another application in coal-fired power plants is the general service transformer units which we typically protect with a water mist technology or a sprinkler system located outside the power plant. 

Is ORR Protection familiar with the codes and standards that regulate coal-fired power plants?

Most of the codes and standards in this space are regulated by NFPA 850, but there are some coal generation facilities that have their own codes and standards that must be adhered to. We always inquire to make sure we are in compliance with the customer’s internal requirements.

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Power generation facilities, whether hydroelectric or fossil fuel, all present significant and varied fire hazards, from both the fuel and the rotating machinery. Fire also poses a significant business risk, not only because power plants are a major capital investment, but also because downtime can have serious repercussions for those who depend on an uninterrupted supply of electricity.



Like data centers, broadband facilities rely on sensitive computing equipment, they are often tightly packed, cooling is a concern, cables and network equipment are always live with electricity, and a fire would be catastrophic. Risk is accentuated when buildings are unmanned. Many are located in remote areas. In some cases, the buildings sole purpose is to house telco network equipment and fire suppression equipment is not required by the AHJ.

Rick Reynolds

Vice President, Power Generation

Rick has worked in the fire protection industry for over 35 years. He is a frequent speaker and presenter at corporate meetings, workshops, conventions, and industry trade shows related to fire protection. Rick is a master electrician and has achieved numerous certifications in both the electrical and fire protection industries. 

Rick joined ORR Protection in 1991 and was elevated quickly to operations manager for the Southeast Region. He was instrumental in developing ORR’s National Accounts Program. In 2010, Rick became vice president of National Accounts and the Southeast region of ORR Protection. Then in 2018, Rick assumed the role of vice president for the Power Generation Marketplace, an ever-evolving market that includes the country’s energy storage marketplace. 

Chuck Hatfield

National Account Manager, Power Generation

Chuck began his career as a fire fighter and paramedic in Atlanta, GA. He quickly moved into industrial fire protection where he specialized in R&D as well as distributer and end-user training. Chuck went on to develop the industrial fire brigade training and special hazards awareness for the entire utility industry before taking a position at ORR Protection.

Chuck has continued to build upon his fire protection expertise over the past 15 years, working in many types of power plants and other heavy industrial sites. When he is not traveling the country supporting utility sites with fire protection solutions, Chuck spends his time at home with his wife and 6 children.

Lee Kaiser

Vice President, Engineering

Lee  is VP of Engineering and Technical Training for ORR Protection and is Chairperson of the technical committee for NFPA 75, Standard for the Protection of Information Technology Equipment. His career at ORR has been to provide technical and thought leadership in the protection of mission critical facilities.

Lee is a professional engineer in the discipline of fire protection engineering. He participates in industry committees for ORR and gives technical education sessions at conferences and seminars throughout the county.