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An Overview of FM 200,
Carbon Dioxide, Wet
Chemical, and Dry Chemical
Fire Suppression Systems
August 21, 2012

FM 200, carbon
dioxide, wet

chemical, and

dry chemical fire

systems are
required in

facilities that

flammable or

liquids. These

systems use gaseous or chemical agents that are specially designed to extinguish the

source of the fire. In some cases only a fire sprinkler system is required by the code but
a facilitys owner may decide to install a specific system in order to protect certain

items from water damage. The following is a brief overview of each fire suppression
system and some of their common applications.
FM 200 Fire Suppression Systems
FM 200 fire suppression systems agent is dispensed into the area of the fire; it

absorbs the heat and lowers the fires temperature below the ignition point. Since the
fire suppression agent leaves no residue and requires no cleanup, its ideal for use in
computer rooms, museums, historical archives, and many other applications. Some

benefits of FM 200 fire suppression systems are that they require little storage space
for the fire extinguishing agent in comparison to a carbon dioxide system and the
systems can be located in areas that are occupied by the facilitys personnel.
Carbon Dioxide Fire Suppression Systems
When activated a carbon dioxide fire suppression system releases the gaseous agent
into the fire and extinguishes flames by displacing the oxygen in the area. These

systems work quickly, efficiently, leave no residue, and are often found in many places

that have printing presses, spray booths, flammable liquid storage, and dip tanks. Major
issues with carbon dioxide fire suppression systems are that the gaseous agent is

extremely dangerous to humans and shouldnt be used in areas that are regularly

occupied by personnel. In some cases carbon dioxide fire suppression systems must
be located where people work and certain precautionary measures must be taken in

order to comply with the NFPA and OSHA requirements. The additional precautionary
measures help to ensure the safety of the facilitys personnel.
Wet Chemical Fire Suppression Systems
Wet chemical fire suppression systems are used in cooking applications. When theres
an emergency the chemical is dispensed; suppresses the fire, blankets the flames, and
prevents the fire from reigniting. This fire suppression system requires minimal
cleanup after an activation which prevents loss of work and profits.
Dry Chemical Fire Suppression Systems
Dry chemical fire suppression systems expel a chemical powder that is designed to

extinguish flames that are caused by flammable and combustible liquids. The chemical
powder agent is often used in mechanical rooms, furnace rooms, flammable liquid

storage areas, and other places as well. Dry chemical fire suppression systems work
very quickly to extinguish fires but their chemical agent can cause quite a mess and
lead to a prolonged cleanup.

Other than a wet chemical system which is always required in kitchen areas, FM 200,
carbon dioxide, and dry chemical systems are used in more than one type of

application. Fire & life safety service providers will consult with The Authority Having
Jurisdiction and review NFPA code requirements to determine which type of fire

suppression system is needed based on the hazard in the facility. If you have any

questions about fire suppression systems please contact one of our Fire & Life Safety
Experts at (

Categorized in: Education (, Fire

Suppression (, General
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