Important information about fire fighting gas FM200 phase-down

Manometer of clean agent fire suppression system

In early 2018, Australia joined an international phase-down of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (the Montreal Protocol).

HFCs are synthetic greenhouse gases with a high global warming potential, historically utilised in various applications including refrigeration, air conditioning – and fire fighting gas systems.

The gradual phase-down means we’re importing fewer HFCs into Australia in a bid to directly reduce emissions.

While FM200 is now rarely used in Europe, Australia has been slower to make the switch. With the phase-down now accelerating, Tom Marshall, DEM Fire Managing Director, has a message for our customers:

“FM200 has been in place for many years, originally as a popular replacement for halon systems. It has an environmental impact, so we’re finally phasing it down. We have alternatives, so if you do currently have an FM200 gas fire suppression system, you should be planning to replace it – and it will require us to confirm the engineering design of the system .”

Employee checking inside the dark data room

FM200 fire fighting gas and alternatives

FM200 is found in special hazard systems, a type of suppression system typically used in data centres, computer rooms or other areas where a water-based sprinkler system may be less desirable.

Gas-based fire safety systems are a form of special hazard system that contain early detection mechanisms to kick in as soon as there is the first indication of a fire.

Whilst many of our commercial and industrial clients have suppression systems utilising FM200, there are now several cleaner alternatives, including inert gases IG-55, IG-541, IG-01 and IG-100.

As with all of our fire protection solutions, our team will assess your site and make tailored recommendations for a best-fit replacement.

Engineer working in office with blueprints

Replacing FM200 suppression systems

Whilst the phase-down is an enforced regulatory requirement for Australian importers, there is no obligatory deadline for those utilising FM200. HFCs are still available in Australia, but we, like many suppliers and customers, are looking to support greener alternatives.

When you do make the switch from your current FM200-based special hazard system, there are some steps involved.

“We will need to reconfirm the design and look at specifics, including nozzles, volume of gas and transport time, which is how long it takes for the agent to be distributed through the network of pipes,” explains Tom.

“We will likely look at various types of nozzles, nozzle size and different elements to ensure a suitable fire prevention system for your business type and premises. There’s quite a bit of engineering involved in the solution design, plus installation and testing.”

Man using a desktop inside the office

Complete fire prevention solutions

At DEM Fire, we specialise in holistic fire prevention spanning solution design, system installation, asset management and fire compliance.

As per changes to NSW legislative requirements in recent years, we’re also one of the few fire protection companies with in-house FPAS Accredited Practitioners in both Fire Design and Fire Safety.

Our fire safety experts are highly skilled across diverse sectors, from shopping centres to stadiums and universities – to stay at the forefront of the fire prevention industry.

Please contact us to discuss the FM200 fire fighting gas phase-down, and all your fire prevention requirements.

Contact DEM Fire & Essential Services Group

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