Understanding FM200 Fire Suppression Systems

Travis Jolliff

The extinguishing agent used in FM200 Fire Suppression Systems is a compound of carbon, fluorine and hydrogen. It is colorless, odorless and electrically non-conductive. If a discharge occurs in an occupied space, personnel will be able to see and breathe, permitting them to leave the area safely. Fires are extinguished rapidly, typically knocking out class A, B and C fires in less than 10 seconds. This minimizes atmospheric toxicity and the generation of smoke and soot. Physical and chemical actions combine in FM-200 to form an irresistible fire fighting force. The physical properties of a FM200 Fire Suppression System lower the flame temperature, while the chemical action suppresses flame propagation. In fact, FM-200 is the appropriate choice in applications where liquid extinguishants, water-based or dry chemical products can cause costly damage or result in considerable and expensive downtime. For normal Class A fire risks, only 7% by volume FM-200 is needed for extinguishing purposes, resulting in far less space being taken up than with many other gaseous extinguishing systems on the market. FM200 fire suppression is a solution that is already working in more than 100 thousand applications, in more than 70 nations around the world. This article attempts to identify and answer some of the more common questions associated with FM200 fire suppression systems.

What is FM200 Fire Suppression?

The fire suppression agent in FM200 Fire Suppression Systems is also known as HFC227ea. FM200 is a waterless fire protection system, it is discharged into the risk within 10 seconds and suppresses the fire immediately.

FM200 Fire Suppression Systems Are Safe

FM200 fire suppression is found as an active compound as a propellant in medical inhalers. Thus FM200 gas is extremely safe for occupied spaces with the correct fire suppression design. Typically FM200 requires a design concentration of 7%, which is well below the 9% No Observable Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL) on cardiac sensitisation

How does a FM200 Fire Suppression System work?

There is a common misconception that FM200 gas reduces oxygen; this is not true! FM200 is a synthetic/chemical fire suppression gas and extinguishes a fire by removing the free radicals or heat elements from the fire triangle. (Oxygen, Heat and Fuel). The typical concentration of an FM200 system is normally between 7.9% to 8.5% depending on the risk that is being protected.

Key features of FM200 Fire Suppression Systems

  • FM200 contains no bromine or chlorine and therefore has zero Ozone Depleting Potential
  • Safe for use in occupied areas
  • Suitable for protection on a range of high value risks
  • Existing Halon/CO2 control systems can be adapted for use with FM200
  • Requires minimal storage space
  • Like Halon, no clean-up required after discharge
  • Low pressure system
  • Listed in the US Environmental Protection

Advantages of an FM200 Fire Suppression System

Requires less space – The main advantage of FM200 Fire Suppression Systems is the small amount of agent required to suppress a fire. This means fewer cylinders, therefore less wasted space for storage of FM200 cylinders.

Rapid response – FM200 systems reach extinguishing levels in 10 seconds or less, stopping ordinary combustible, electrical, and flammable liquid fires before they cause significant damage. FM200 extinguishes the fire quickly, which means less damage, lower repair costs. Like any other fire suppression system,

Safe for occupied spaces – FM200 systems are designed with an extra margin of safety for people.

Cost effective and efficient – Refilling FM200 is simple and cost effective, therefore, it also means less downtime and disruption to your business.

Lasting solution – The atmospheric lifetime of FM200 is between 31 and 42 years which along with its zero ODP presents a long-term solution to fire protection requirements.

FM200 Fire Suppression Systems are safe for the environment

FM200 contains no bromine or chlorine and therefore has zero Ozone Depleting Potential (ODP).  In addition to the fire protection benefits of using FM200, the environment will benefit as well. FM200 fire suppressant does not deplete stratospheric ozone, and has minimal impact on the environment relative to the impact a catastrophic fire would have.

FM200 Fire Suppression System applications

FM200 Fire Suppression Systems are commonly used in:

  • DATA Centres
  • Comms Rooms
  • Telecommunication facilities
  • UPS Rooms
  • Medical facilities

FM-200 is suitable for virtually all total-flooding fire suppression applications, although it is most commonly used to protect vital company assets – those upon which the company’s survival might well depend. However, as it does not remove significant quantities of oxygen or obstruct vision, FM-200 is also ideal for use in occupied rooms or enclosed compartments, and is quickly cleared when ventilated.

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