Clean agent fire protection systems that use chemicals like FM-200™ and discharge as a gas are considered to be safe in normally occupied spaces. FM-200™ complies with NFPA Standard 2001: Standard for Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems, EPA SNAP Program (Significant New Alternative Policy), Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL), and Factory Mutual Research Corporation (FMRC). FM-200™ is a clean and colorless agent that suppresses fires through heat absorption. It is electronically non-conductive, making it safe for sensitive equipment and leaving no residue behind minimizes the downtime after a fire incident.
Clean agent systems use inert gases and chemical agents to suppress a fire quickly and used for a wide variety of applications. Clean agents include FM-200™ and Novec 1230, and because they are gaseous agents, they leave no residue and are safe for electrical panels, servers, electronics, artwork, archives, and machinery. Unlike traditional water-based sprinklers systems, there is little to no cleanup, which quickly gets your operations back up and running.
Clean agent systems using FM-200™ are non-toxic to humans in levels used for extinguishing fires. When designing a fire suppression system, particular emphasis is placed on accurately calculating clean agent concentration levels to be safe in occupied spaces. Because it is clear, it will not obscure your vision. Additionally, FM-200™ does not displace oxygen to suppress the fire, so there is no concern about oxygen deprivation.
FM-200™, also known as HFC-227ea or a heptafluoropropane, is a compound made up of carbon, fluorine, and hydrogen (CF3CHFCF3) and is produced by Chemours. It can be used in a wide variety of applications to provide fast-acting fire suppression. Clean agent systems using FM-200™ can achieve fire extinguishing concentration levels in 10 seconds or less, limiting the amount of damage caused by a fire. FM-200™ was developed as an alternative to Halon, which was banned by the Montreal Protocol.
Halon, which was once one of the most effective and popular agents for suppressing fires, was banned because it is an ozone-depleting chemical. Halon was phased out in 1994, and halon gas replacement clean agents like FM-200™ and Novec 1230 was developed to be environmentally friendly and have zero ozone depletion (ODP). Since the ban on Halon 1211 and 1301, FM-200™ has become a leading clean agent commonly used in gaseous fire suppression systems for the last 20+ years. Other benefits of FM-200™ are that it has a low global warming potential and short atmospheric life span, and due to the small amount of FM-200™ agent needed to suppress a fire, less or smaller cylinders are required.
Another replacement option for Halon is CO2. CO2 is colorless, odorless, and electrically non-conductive, and like other clean agents, it does not leave any residue and is safe for sensitive equipment and machinery. The difference between CO2 and other gaseous clean agents is that CO2 removes the oxygen to suppress the fire. By removing the oxygen, the CO2 level quickly rises to suppress the fire. This poses a threat in occupied spaces and can cause suffocation to humans. CO2 systems are best suited for environments that have few to no personnel in the space being protected. If a CO2 fire suppression system goes off, once CO2 levels are back to a safe level, personnel can access the space to access any fire damage and get operations back up and running.
When selecting a fire suppression system, you need to evaluate the equipment and space you are protecting. Several environmentally friendly options exist today, and it’s all about finding the right fit for your applications.
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