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.
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.
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.
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 18.104.22.168 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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