Clean Agent Fire Suppression

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Fire safety systems protecting people & critical assets while minimizing business interruption.

Frequently Asked Questions About Fire Safety Systems

Please review our frequently asked questions for more information about fire safety systems. If you have other questions, or need additional information and assistance, please contact us today. We are eager to serve your fire safety and protection needs.

Q:  What is special hazards fire protection?
A:  Special hazards are defined by the critical nature of an operation or how easily the protected items or functions can be replaced. To determine if you need a special hazards fire suppression system, start by asking these questions:
  • Can the items be replaced?
  • Can you afford downtime caused by fire damage or clean-up?
  • Are there redundant systems?
  • Can you still operate if this system goes down?
If you answer no to these questions, then you need to look at fire protection not only for the structure of the building, but for the assets it contains. That is special hazards fire protection.

Q:  What are the types of special hazards fire suppression systems?
A:  The special hazards family consists of five types of suppression systems. They include:
  • clean agent
  • foam
  • dry chemical
  • carbon dioxide
  • water mist systems
Q:  What are Performance-Based Codes and Performance-Based Design?
A:  Performance-Based Codes are an alternative to the current "prescriptive-based" code requirements. The Prescriptive Code is a code or standard that prescribes fire safety for a generic use or application.

Fire safety is achieved by specifying certain construction characteristics, protection systems or limiting dimension without referring to how these requirements achieve the desired fire safety goal. A Performance-Based Code is a code or standard that specifically states its fire safety goals and references acceptable methods that can be used to demonstrate compliance with its requirements.

A performance based approach allows for greater design flexibility, accommodates greater innovation in construction techniques and materials, provides for equal or better fire safety and maximizes the ratio of benefit-to-cost during the design/construction process.

Q:  What are clean agents?
A:  Clean agents are gaseous fire suppressing agents. Because they suppress fire as gases, there is no damage to protected areas from the discharge and no residue to clean up. Thus, the term "clean" agents.

Q:  Are some "clean agents" banned or are about to be banned?
A:  Yes. Starting in the 1960s, Halon 1301 was the principal agent used in clean agent extinguishing systems. However, Halon was found to have a high ozone depletion potential, so manufacture of Halon was banned in 1994. However there is no ban on the use of existing Halon, and many Halon systems are still in service.

There are also no plans to ban Halon use at any time in the future. However, the EPA strongly recommends using one of the recently developed Halon alternatives. There are three commercially available Halon alternatives that are very effective at suppressing fire.

Q:  How do I know these new clean agents are safe?
A:  The EPA phased out Halon production as part of the Clean Air Act of 1990. Another part of that Act was the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP). Under SNAP, the EPA evaluated substitute chemicals and alternative technologies to ensure that they wouldn't cause greater damage to human health or the environment than the potential ozone depleters that were being replaced. Each of today's clean agents is SNAP approved.

Q:  Can people be exposed to clean agents?
A:  Yes, part of the SNAP approval process includes testing for adverse effects in humans at recommended design concentrations. Each of today's clean agents is safe for humans and safe for the environment as well.

Halon 1301 is also safe for occupied areas at recommended design concentrations. However, some people consider carbon dioxide a clean agent as well because it shares the non-corrosive, no clean-up features. While carbon dioxide is a very effective fire suppressing agent, it is not safe for use in occupied areas.

Q:  What are the new clean agents?
A:  At this time, the five commercially-available clean agents for total flooding applications are: INERGEN, NOVEC 1230, FM-200, FE-13 and Ecaro-25.

Q:  How can I dispose of Halon?
A:  Halon must be disposed of in accordance with EPA regulations. When it's time to dispose of your Halon, you have some options which include:
  • Make it available to critical users through the Halon Recycling Corporation.
  • Donate it to the Department of Defense Ozone Depleting Substances Reserve.
  • You can return it to your distributor for resale or call Advanced Fire to dispose of your Halon properly.

301 NW Locust Ct - PO Box 144
Oak Grove, MO 64075
P: 816-690-7674  |  F: 816-690-7573