Friday, February 3, 2012

We Need a FM 200 System for our Server Room a what?

Your Office was visited by Insurance raters one day last week when you get a notice that you must install an FM200 clean agent system to protect your server room to continue insurance coverage.
You call around and get lot of a what? well these specialized system are only installed by a few company's mainly who specialize in Fire extinguisher servicing who also do kitchen hood systems. How ever there are full service Fire Alarm and suppression company's who do really handle it all.
So what exactly is an FM 200 clean Agent system anyways .
Well in previous days you may have known it under the name of a Halon System which used a special freon type gas that put out electrical fires with out causing damage like powder or water would do Carbon Dioxide Extinguishers the ones with the big black horn looking thing on them is also another form of clean agent system as well.
But freon based systems work better than CO2 systems. But there was a problem with Halon
the EPA banned its use in systems back in the 90's due to its harming the atmosphere ( an argument for another day)
The result is a new formulation called FM200 also known as (1,1,1,2,3,3,3-Heptafluoropropane)

A special type of Fire alarm panel which is used for what is known as releasing duty rated is used in the system. Typically 2 detectors wired on different zones must activate at same time whats known as cross zoning , which starts the countdown sequence up to 30 seconds .
During this time you can hit an abort button to shut down the delivery of FM 200 to the room.
if not aborted the agent is released from the tank and floods the room taking heat out of the fire.
so its a good idea to leave as soon as possible. FM200 will not kill you but you still do not want to be in an atmosphere with it.
The FM 200 system can be stand alone in a building but if the building has a fire system it is suppose be tied and to also sound the buildings fire alarm as well. so occupants know there's a problem.

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