Summit Fire and Safety Equipment

Dangers Associated with Clean Agent Extinguishers

Are there any dangers associated with clean agents?

Price is not the only problem clean agent extinguishers present. Discharging a CO2 extinguisher in an unventilated space can dilute the oxygen supply. The person discharging a CO2 in such a space may lose consciousness due to lack of oxygen. Some years ago I discharged a CO2 in a confined space without enough ventilation and lost consciousness almost immediately. Two other members of our team pulled me out. I regained consciousness soon after exposure to fresh air. That experience taught my companions and me an important lesson, never underestimate how quickly CO2 can knock a person out when used in a confined space without proper ventilation.


Halogenated agent extinguishers discharge low-toxicity vapor

Halogenated agent extinguishers discharge low-toxicity vapor; their decomposition products are noted as a danger in NFPA 10 Annex H. If we are present when a halogenated agent extinguisher is used in a confined space without adequate ventilation, we should avoid breathing the gases produced by the agent decomposing as it comes in contacts with the heat. The clean agent extinguisher’s faceplate provides information to make sure that the agent’s safe exposure guidelines are not exceeded. The main purpose of that information is so the extinguisher user is not subjected to overexposure of the extinguishing agent vapors while discharging an extinguisher into a confined space. The fire equipment company should always perform the necessary calculations to assure the cubic feet of the confined space being protected is sufficient so as not to endanger the extinguisher operator.More extinguisher information can be found at Bill's Notes.