ECARO-25 Agent for Special Hazard Suppression System
The extinguishing agent used in ECARO-25 Suppression Systems is Pentafuoroethane — more commonly known by its ASHRAE designation: HFC-125.
HFC-125 is a colorless, odorless, liquefied compressed gas. (See Physical Properties Table below.) It is stored as a liquid, but is dispensed into the hazard as a colorless, electrically-nonconductive, gaseous vapor due to its relatively low boiling point.
HFC-125 has been tested and verified to be safe for use in occupied spaces when used as specified in the U.S. EPA Significant New Alternative Policy (SNAP) rules. Tests have proven that exposure to HFC-227ea (FM-200) is safe and effective in extinguishing fires at low concentrations; most of which are well below the EPA’s maximum exposure levels. HFC-125 is approved for use in occupied areas up to a 11.5% concentration by volume with mandated egress time of five minutes or less.
HFC-125’s mechanism of extinguishing fires is considered active. Its primary action is through physically cooling the fire at the molecular level. HFC-125 belongs to the same class of agents used in refrigeration and is an efficient heat transfer agent. HFC-125 removes the thermal energy from the fire to the extent where the combustion reaction cannot sustain itself.
Additionally, there is a chemical action that provides a secondary means of extinguishing the fire. Trace amounts of free radicals are released into the fire — thereby inhibiting the chain reaction of combustion.HFC-125 does not significantly reduce oxygen levels and is safe for use in occupied spaces in accordance with the U.S. EPA guidelines. HFC-125 can be removed from the protected space by simple means of ventilation after discharge.
Use and Limitations
ECARO-25 Systems must be designed and installed in accordance with the requirements outlined in this manual, and in accordance with the requirements of the Standard for Clean Agent Extinguishing Systems, NFPA 2001, and latest edition. ECARO-25 systems are primarily used to protect hazards that are enclosed; this provides a means to establish and maintain an effective extinguishing concentration. Typical hazards that can be protected include the following.
- Electrical and electronic hazards.
- Telecommunications facilities.
- Storage Rooms — Flammable liquids and gases.
- High value assets, where the associated down-time would be costly.
- ECARO-25 systems shall not be used on fires involving the following materials.
- Chemicals or mixtures of chemicals that is capable of rapid oxidation in the absence of air. Examples include Cellulose Nitrate and Gunpowder.
- Reactive metals such as Lithium, Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, Titanium, Zirconium, Uranium, and Plutonium.
- Metal hydrides such as Sodium Hydride and Lithium Aluminum Hydride.
- Chemicals capable of undergoing auto-thermal decomposition. Examples include Organic Peroxides and Hydrazine.
Although HFC-125 is considered to be non-toxic, the EPA has established the guidelines controlling the amount (concentration) of agent provided for the protected area. Based on PBPK modeling, the EPA allows HFC-125 for use where people are normally present (normally occupied spaces) up to concentration of 11.5% by volume with exposure limited to 5 minutes or less.
WARNING: The discharge of clean agent systems to extinguish a fire can result in potential hazard to personnel from the natural form of the clean agent or from the products of combustion that result from exposure of the agent to the fire or hot surfaces. Unnecessary exposure of personnel either to the natural agent or to the products of decomposition shall be avoided.
The requirements for pre-discharge alarms and time delays are intended to prevent unnecessary exposure to humans where their presence is not critical to the operation of the area being protected. Suitable safeguards shall be provided to ensure prompt evacuation of (and prevent entry into) protected areas after discharge.
Normally Occupied Areas ECARO-25 systems can be designed to concentrations above the NOAEL, given that means be provided to limit exposure to design concentrations shown in the table below that correspond to a maximum permitted human exposure time of five minutes.
Not Normally Occupied Spaces. ECARO-25 systems can be designed for concentrations exceeding the LOAEL provided that any personnel in the area can escape within 30 seconds.
NOTE: We do not recommend ECARO-25 systems to be used in any normally occupied spaces where the design concentration required is above 11.5%
With a database in excess of 70 toxicity tests, ECARO-25 has been extensively tested and approved by institutions and agencies around the world. The LC50 toxicity rating for ECARO-25 is greater than 700,000 ppm. When you consider that most ECARO-25 systems are designed for concentrations providing 80,000 ppm or less, it is evident that ECARO-25 is safe to use.
ECARO-25 will decompose to form halogen acids when exposed to extremely high temperatures. The formation of these acids is minimized by using fast-acting detection and control systems and proper system design and installation of piping system to deliver the agent quickly. The generation of by-products from ECARO-25 discharge will be minimal when properly applied.