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3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fluid Fire Wire – Fall 2018

Fire Wire is 3M Novec 1230 Fire Protection Fluid’s quarterly fire suppression newsletter, developed for specifying engineers, architects and everyone else working in special hazards fire protection.

  • Sunny coastline with clear water and partly cloudy skies illustrating common areas where cruise lines sail.

    Modernizing marine fire protection with Costa Cruises

    Marine fire protection poses a unique set of challenges. Space is at a premium, passenger and crew safety is essential, the vessel could be at sea or in a remote location during a fire event, and refitting a ship with a new fire protection system takes time and money.

    Costa Cruises knew it was time to upgrade the CO₂ fire extinguishing system on board its Costa Riviera vessel. But because the ship was constantly at sea, they needed a solution that they could install without disrupting normal operations.

    CO₂ systems are commonly used for marine fire protection, but because they are lethal to people at design concentrations, marine design standards such as NFPA 12 and SOLAS require a combination of manual actuation, predischarge alarms, time delays and lock-out procedures to evacuate personnel from protected spaces before the agent is discharged. The problem with this approach is that the long delay gives fires more time to spread and damage critical equipment.

    Faced with this challenge, fire protection specialists at JCI (formerly Tyco Integrated Fire & Security) recommended a SAPPHIRE® system using 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid. It has a high margin of safety for occupants at design concentration. Further, the protected space reaches design concentration levels in only 10 seconds, extinguishing the fire quickly and enabling critical ship operations to continue uninterrupted during and after a system discharge.

    CO₂ systems also depend on flooding the space with a significant amount of gas in order to displace enough oxygen to extinguish the fire. This requires high design concentrations and substantial agent storage space. Systems using Novec 1230 fluid are more compact – requiring just one cylinder for every ten CO₂ cylinders in a typical system – offering valuable space savings on the Costa Riviera.

    The SAPPHIRE® system using Novec 1230 fluid optimized many important features including safety, space savings, and an innovative system design. In fact, it was simple enough to install that it was in place in two months while the Costa Riviera was at sea – avoiding disruption for passengers or a lengthy and expensive stay in port.

  • Image of a cruise ship passing by the shoreline.

    Protecting cruise ship passengers – and cruise line reputations – from fire

    • For cruise passengers, the goal is to spend days in the sun without worries or cares. Yet behind the scenes, it takes a combination of complex equipment and hard-working crew to create the illusion of calm and peace. When a fire renders part of that system out of action, the whole ship can shut down.
    • And with a smartphone video camera in everyone’s pocket, a cruise gone wrong can suddenly become an internet sensation.
    • For example, in recent years:
      • A four-day luxury cruise became an eight-day nightmare after an engine room fire put the Carnival Triumph’s systems out of action.
      • 500 people were evacuated from the Caribbean Fantasy after a fuel hose fire in the control room burned out of control.
    • Without a functioning engine or control room, the ship’s systems and ability to remain underway break down. With business and brand reputation both on the line, it’s important to have the right fire suppression solution in place ahead of an accident. While water comes standard, it isn’t the full and complete solution for essential mission critical equipment and spaces – they need a solution that can extinguish the fire cleanly and effectively.

  • Almost 20 million items destroyed in a fire at the Brazil National Museum

    Brazil’s oldest museum, home to almost 20 million historical artifacts, was devastated by a fire in early September. Fortunately, no one was injured, but the museum itself was nearly entirely destroyed. According to the BBC, despite its extensive and irreplaceable collection, including the oldest known human remains in Latin America, the National Museum had neither a special hazard fire suppression system nor a water sprinkler system installed.

    In the fire protection industry, we all know the importance of protecting assets with good fire detection and suppression. This tragic loss is another reminder of why that work matters – making sure that the people and things that enrich and fulfil our lives are kept safe from fire.

  • The Waterless Fire Suppression video compares water sprinklers with clean agent fire suppression using Novec 1230 fluid.

    Fact or Fiction? Water mist is a clean fire extinguishing agent

    Fiction. Whether defined colloquially as an agent that does not leave a mess after discharge, or literally according to National Fire Protection Association standards, water mist is not a clean agent.

    A “clean” fire extinguishing agent is one that minimizes damage to your customer’s business from both the fire, by effectively extinguishing it, and the agent itself. Specifically, the NFPA 2001 standard on clean agents, section indicates that: The fire extinguishing agents addressed in this standard shall be electrically nonconducting and leave no residue upon evaporation.

    In contrast, water mist systems are covered separately by the NFPA 750 standard, which sets different performance requirements and does not mention standards for conductivity or residue. All water-based systems – whether operating via deluge, wet or dry pipe sprinklers, or water mist – result in a discharge of water from a system that is designed to control, but not necessarily extinguish the fire in the protected space.

    In special hazards fire protection, where business continuity is essential and critical equipment or documents are expensive or priceless, water damage from electrical shorts, soaked paper or other residue can be as bad for business as the fire damage. See for yourself.

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