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Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems

In 2012, the Coast Guard regulations were amended to accept engineered clean agent extinguishing systems as equivalent to fixed carbon dioxide systems for all applications except for the protection of cargo holds. Detailed type approval criteria for both halocarbon and inert gas clean agents may be found in 46 CFR 162.161, while design installation and testing requirements are listed in 46 CFR 95.16. General type approval criteria are summarized below:
  1. Approvals are issued only for complete systems utilizing specific extinguishing agents. Approval is not issued for individual system components, hardware or extinguishing agents.

  2. The agent must be acceptable to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in occupied spaces under the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP list).

  3. The agent must be recognized as a fire extinguishing medium by NFPA 2001, Standard on Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems.

  4. The system must successfully pass the fire tests in IMO MSC/Circ. 848, Revised Guidelines for the approval of equivalent fixed gas fire-extinguishing systems, as referred to in SOLAS 74, for machinery spaces and cargo pump-rooms, as further amended by MSC.1/Circ. 1267.

  5. The systems must be listed and labeled for marine use by a Coast Guard accepted independent testing laboratory.

  6. The system must have an associated marine design, installation, operation and maintenance manual. The manual must be specific to marine applications and must include the following:
    • Limitations on nozzle placement and spacing determined from the type approval tests.
    • Description of system design, including system schematic.
    • A complete list of components.
    • Drawings of major system components, such as nozzles, selector valves, agent storage cylinders or tanks, etc.
    • Sample computer program input sheets.
    • Sample calculations and drawings for typical system installations in accordance with the applicable vessel regulations (such as 46 CFR 95.15 for cargo vessels) which will enable USCG personnel to verify calculations.

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Last Modified 1/12/2016