The following questions are often asked regarding Koetter Fire Protection's in particular or fire protection in general. Click the question to view a specific response, or scroll down to review all answers.
There are four classes of fires. All fire extinguishers are labeled, using standard symbols, for the classes of fires on which they can be used. A red slash through any of the symbols tells you the extinguisher cannot be used on that class of fire. A missing symbol tells you only that the extinguisher has not been tested for a given class of fire, but may be used if an extinguisher labeled for that class of fire is not available.
Types of Fires:
Portable extinguishers are not designed to fight large or spreading fires. Even against small fires, they are useful only under certain conditions:
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:
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.
The special hazards family consists of five types of suppression systems. They include:
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. It uses an engineering approach to fire protection design based on (1) established fire safety goals and objectives; (2) deterministic and probabilistic analysis of fire scenarios; (3) quantitative assessment of design alternatives against the fire safety goals and objectives using accepted engineering tools, methodologies, and performance criteria.
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.
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.
No. 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. There is no ban on the use of Halon, however, 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.
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 that the potential ozone depleters that were being replaced. Each of today's clean agents is SNAP approved.
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.
At this time, the four commercially-available clean agents for total flooding applications are: INERGEN, NOVEC 1230, FM-200 and FE-13.
Halon must be disposed of in accordance with EPA regulations. When it's time to dispose of your Halon, you have five options:
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