An archive is a repository of historical records such as documents, artefacts and other items, accumulated over the course of organization’s or person’s lifetime, that are kept to show the function of that individual or organization. Archives are records kept to provide historic insight, positioning, record of all kinds of legal, commercial, administrative or social activities and consist of records that have been selected for preservation on grounds of their enduring cultural, historical, or evidentiary value.
Archive records are typically unpublished and almost always unique, their value culturally, historically as well as financially, is substantial and in many cases invaluable. Fire poses great risk to the preservation of assets contained within Archives. Protecting the archives can frequently mean protecting the entire building, where the risk of deep-seated fires and complex layouts pose a greater challenge.
Archive storage arrangements can often consist of tightly packed materials, together with natural flue spaces which would promote the spread of fire, yet inhibit water access. With low ceilings, limited drainage facilities and large areas above and below ground archive spaces frequently have difficult access and egress. Archive fire protection solutions should require low quantities of water to fight, control and extinguish the fire, while offering swift extinguishing capability to protect as much of the assets as possible from damage.