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Resource Library - Frequently Asked Questions

The following information is provided to help our customers better understand the products and services we offer. If the information on this page does not answer your question, please call us at 800.649.9881 or 800.717.6454 and we'll be glad to assist you.

FAQ Sections:

I) Portable Fire Extinguishers:

1. I always hear about the "ABC's" of fire. What exactly is that?

This refers to the three classes of common fires as defined by NFPA:

Class "A" is the classification for common solid combustible fires such as rubbish, paper, boxes, wood, plastics etc. which can be found in homes and commercial establishments.

Class "B" involves flammable liquids such as solvents, oil, paint and gasoline as examples. These type of fires burn hot and spread rapidly.

Class "C" fires are electrical in nature and could be energized appliances, data equipment and motors. These fires are usually difficult to reach.

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2. I see a lot of fire extinguishers with "ABC" on their labels; does this mean they can extinguish these 3 classes of fires?

Yes but the hazard you wish to protect should be taken into consideration. Since ABC extinguisher contents are dry chemical, if used on an electrical fire such as a computer the fire might be extinguished but the nature of the dry chemical will corrode sensitive electrical components. There are many types of fire extinguishers designed for specific hazards.

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3. So are A, B and C the only types of fire classifications?

No, there are two other specialty classes:

Class D fires involve combustible metals such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium which react violently when introduced to water or other chemicals.

The other is Class K. NFPA 10 defines Class K fires as fires in cooking appliances that involve combustible cooking media such as animal fats and vegetable oils. This class was created because cooking appliances have become more efficient. Modern cooking appliances such as deep fryers have heavily insulated fry pots so that the cooking oils stay hotter for longer periods of time. Industry testing proved that standard dry chemical agents were unable to effectively extinguish fires in the newer cooking appliances.

As a result Class K Fire Extinguishers were introduced. They are a "wet" chemical fire extinguisher and are now required by NFPA in commercial kitchens. With a main ingredient of potassium acetate, a low PH agent, these extinguishers are engineered to for a "soft" discharge to smother the surface fire and prevent hot cooking oils from splashing, thus spreading the fire.

To learn more about the proper extinguisher for your property, contact your Interstate Fire Protection professional.

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II) Kitchen Suppression Systems:

1. What is UL-300?

UL-300 is the standard for the Testing of Fire Extinguishing Systems for Protection of Restaurant Cooking Areas effective since November 21, 1994. Since that date, all restaurant fire suppression systems manufactured must comply with UL-300 in order to be listed.

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2. How do I know if my kitchen fire suppression system meets with UL-300 requirements?

Indicators that show your system may be pre-UL-300 may include some of the following:

  • No UL-300 sticker or label on system cylinder(s)
  • System was installed before November 21, 1994
  • Dry Chemical, water or CO2 used as the suppressant agent
  • Nozzles are larger than 2” in diameter (dry chem nozzles are larger than 2”)
  • System uses a single nozzle to protect more than one appliance

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3. How often should my kitchen suppression system be inspected?

Systems are required to be inspected semi-annually.

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4. What are fusible links?

They are temperature sensitive fire protection devices designed to activate the suppression system when the temperature exceeds a certain ambient temperature.

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5. How often do fusible links need to be replaced?


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III) Clean Agent Suppression Systems:

1. Where are clean agent systems most commonly used?

These systems are installed in areas where water or dry chemical would do irreparable harm to sensitive equipment or materials such as those found in computer rooms, clean rooms, telephone switch rooms and art and historical rooms. These systems are found in areas where the original clean agent system “halon” used to be installed.

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2. Are Halon Systems banned?

Because the chemical make-up of the halon agent contains ozone depleting substances, new halon systems can no longer be installed and most existing halon systems cannot be modified. Should your halon system discharge, the system can be refilled with reclaimed (used) halon. As time goes by and there is less reclaimed halon agent available, the cost of this gas will be prohibitive.

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3. What are clean agent alternatives to halon?

There are a variety of agents that are both people and environmentally friendly such as FM-200, Inerting systems such as Inergen and Pro-Inert, Ecaro and NOVEC 1230. To learn more about each of these agents, please go to our Resource Library- Engineering Specifications page. Feel free to contact Interstate Fire Protection to ensure you have all of your questions answered.

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4. Is carbon dioxide considered a clean agent?

Yes, but it is important to remember that CO2 fights fire by taking oxygen out of the air, these systems should only be used in unoccupied areas.

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IV) Special Hazard Systems:

1. What other types of hazards do automatic suppression systems protect?

There are a variety of systems in the market place engineered for specific hazards from Foam Systems to Gas Island Suppression Systems to Marine Systems to Vehicle Systems to Paint Spray Booth Systems to Water Mist Systems, we have solutions to your fire protection problems. Contact your Interstate Fire Protection professional for the answers to your questions.

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