A List of Agents Used in
Fire Suppression System

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Fire suppression systems are crucial for controlling and extinguishing fires, especially in buildings and vehicles. There are several types of agents used in these systems, each with specific characteristics and applications. Here is a comprehensive list:

Water

The most common and traditional fire suppression agent. It’s effective against Class A fires (ordinary combustibles). However, it’s not suitable for Class B (flammable liquids) or Class C (electrical) fires due to the risk of spreading the fire or causing electrical shock.

Foam

Used primarily for Class B fires, foam suppressants work by forming a blanket over the fire, cutting off the oxygen supply. There are various types of foam agents, including aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) and alcohol-resistant aqueous film-forming foams (AR-AFFF), each suited for different scenarios.

Dry Chemicals

These are powders, typically consisting of sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate, or monoammonium phosphate. They are effective on Class B and C fires and some on Class A fires. They work by interrupting the chemical reaction of the fire.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

CO2 systems are primarily used for Class B and C fires. They work by displacing oxygen in the environment, effectively smothering the fire. They are especially useful in electrical fires and in areas where cleanup from other suppressants would be problematic.

Clean Agents

These include halocarbons and inert gases like FM200, NOVEC 1230, Inergen, and Argonite. Clean agents are environmentally friendly, leave no residue, and are safe for use in occupied spaces. They are ideal for protecting sensitive equipment and are used in data centers, museums, and server rooms.

Wet Chemicals

Primarily used in kitchen fire suppression systems, wet chemicals, like potassium acetate, form a foam that cools and smothers the fire, particularly effective against Class K (cooking oils and fats) fires.

Water Mist

Utilizes fine water sprays to control, suppress, or extinguish fires by cooling both the flame and the surrounding gases by evaporation, and displacing oxygen by evaporation. Effective on Class A and C fires and is gaining popularity due to its environmentally friendly nature.

Powder Aerosols

These consist of fine particles and gaseous matter to suppress fire. They are effective on a wide range of fires, including Class A, B, C, and even some Class D (metal) fires. They are non-toxic and leave no residue.

Each of these agents has its specific use cases, advantages, and limitations, and the choice depends on the nature of the area to be protected, the type of fire likely to occur, and safety considerations for the occupants and equipment within the area.