Gaseous extinghishing systems

February 2007 Fire & Safety

Gaseous extinguishing systems are installed to protect high-value assets from fire with minimal downtime and cleanup costs.

Typical applications include water sensitive telecommunication switch rooms as well as computer and electronic control rooms. Gaseous extinguishing systems offer rapid suppression capability, with discharge times typically between six to 10 seconds.

Chubb Integrated Systems (CIS), a division of Chubb Security South Africa is able to provide a total solution for clients' risk management requirements and in addition, has an in-house design and commissioning office. From access control to monitoring and more, Chubb provides integrated or independent system solutions for access control, asset management, closed circuit television, fire systems, intrusion fencing as well as public address and voice evacuation.

The company offers the following gaseous extinguishing systems:


With hundreds of thousands of systems installed in over 70 countries worldwide, FM-200 is the most widely used Halon replacement. With a relatively small cylinder storage footprint, it is ideally suited for use in areas where space is at a premium or weight restrictions apply. Effective on Class A, B, and C fires, FM-200 extinguishes fires quickly through a combination of chemical interaction and physical heat removal. It interrupts the fire at a molecular level and not by removing oxygen from the environment, making FM-200 safe for use in occupied environments. This agent has many similar characteristics to Halon 1301.


Argonite is a blend of naturally occurring inert gases, namely argon and nitrogen. With zero ODP, zero GWP and zero atmospheric lifetime, it has excellent environmental properties. It works by displacing oxygen and reducing it from the normal 21% to a level that will not support combustion. A typical design concentration of 40% will reduce the oxygen level to 12,5% within 60 seconds. The space requirement for inert gas storage cylinders is greater than that needed for chemical agents, although the latest systems with cylinder storage pressures of 300 bar offer significant space savings over equivalent 200 bar systems. The cylinders are mounted in rows and may be stored in any suitable location, even over 100 metres away from the protected areas.

Carbon dioxide (CO2)

Clean agent carbon dioxide systems have been an industry standard for many decades and are still the preferred agent in many applications. CO2 is a colourless, odourless, dry, inert gas and is one of the most well known of all fire extinguishants. Since its introduction it has safely extinguished more fires than any other gaseous agent. Highly versatile, it can be used for total flooding or in local application. Another big advantage is that it is relatively inexpensive, with CO2 readily available world-wide for low-cost recharge. CO2 occurs naturally in the environment and therefore has no restrictions on its use in fire fighting. While it is widely used in unmanned applications, it is also suitable for use in manned areas provided suitable safety measures are adopted.

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