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    Safety Tip for Extinguisher Placement (Halogenated Agent Extinguisher Safety Information)

    By Mark Conroy

    UL requires that the nameplates on extinguishers containing halogenated agents (halons and halocarbons) be provided with safety information. This nameplate information is based on a weight-by-volume calculation to make sure that the agent’s safe exposure guidelines are not exceeded. The main purpose of the 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 UL minimum volume requirement for confined spaces is based on exposure to the agent in the absence of a fire and does not include considerations for fire and the agent decomposition products.

    The placement of extinguishers containing halogenated agents must therefore conform to this minimum confined space volume criteria. To calculate the volume of a space to be protected with a halogenated agent extinguisher, simply multiply the length by the width by the height. For example, if you have a room that is 10' by 12', with a 9' high ceiling, the calculation would be as follows:

    10' x 12' x 9' = 1,080 cu. ft.

    When you place an extinguisher, this calculation should always be performed. Make sure too, that the cubic feet that you’ve calculated exceeds the minimum volume (cubic feet) permitted on the extinguisher’s nameplate. The property owner should be made aware of this nameplate information for the safety of the end user.

    The above article is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the position of a NFPA technical committee or the NFPA and may not be considered to be or relied upon as such.

    Mark Conroy is an engineer with Brooks Equipment Company and a principal member of the NFPA Technical Committee on Portable Fire Extinguishers. Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.

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