The United States Environmental Protection Agency has provided two reports related to carbon dioxide fire extinguishing systems in recent years.
The most recent report is "Review of the Use of Carbon Dioxide Total Flooding Fire Extinguishing Systems ."
Per the EPA, this is report "provides information on the growing use of carbon dioxide fire extinguishing systems, particularly in the marine market, considers the personnel safety risks from use in occupied areas, and compares these systems to halon and other halon alternatives."
The report was provided to the NFPA 12 technical committee as partial substantiation for a public proposal which requested that NFPA 12 include a prohibition against the use of total flood carbon dioxide systems in normally occupied areas. Engine rooms on shipboard would be one such "normally occupied area" where carbon dioxide fire extinguishing systems are traditionally used.
Click on the following link to access the EPA sponsored report Review of the Use of Carbon Dioxide Total Flooding Fire Extinguishing Systems
Some experts who have reviewed this report found it lacking foundation particularly the foundation of a risk benefit analysis. While the record shows that there have been accidental deaths associated with carbon dioxide fire extinguishing systems, the record also shows that many lives and livelihoods have been saved by these systems. For many hazards, carbon dioxide is considered the best fire extinguishing agent.
Several years ago, the EPA produced a report "Carbon Dioxide as a Fire Suppressant: Examining the Risks."
Per the EPA Preface to this report, "This report was written to provide users of total flooding halon systems, who may be unfamiliar with total flooding carbon dioxide systems, with information regarding the potential dangers associated with carbon dioxide systems. Appropriate precautions must be taken before switching to carbon dioxide systems and with this report EPA attempts to raise awareness and promote the responsible use of carbon dioxide fire suppression systems."
Last revised 04/06/12
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