Why Cartridge Operated Fire Extinguishers Are Suitable Choices for Chemical Plants

Oct 22, 2020 | Fire Protection Services

Fire extinguishers are a necessity for chemical plants because they are high-risk environments. Consider cartridge operated fire extinguishers. They have characteristics that make them great safety device additions for industrial settings like utilities or petrochemical plants.

The Types of Fire Extinguishers

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All fire extinguishers have two main chemicals: an extinguishing agent to put out fires and a propellant gas. There are stored pressure, cartridge operated, self expelling, and wheeled fire extinguishers.

Stored pressure fire extinguishers are the most common type, consisting of a propellant (typically nitrogen or compressed air) and extinguishing agent. This type is suitable for most low-risk environments such as schools, offices, and repair shops.

Cartridge operated extinguishers contain the propellant (typically CO2 or nitrogen) in a separate container, or cartridge, located on the outside of the extinguisher. Within the cylinder is the extinguishing agent. When operated, the cartridge is punctured and the agent is discharged. These models are excellent for high-risk environments, as they are known for their ability to discharge the agent from a greater distance. Some examples include chemical plants, mining industries, and power plants.

Self-expelling extinguishers are more commonly known as CO2 extinguishers. Within the cylinder, the agent acts as its own source of pressure or propellant. The stored CO2 is a high pressure liquid that quickly changes to vapor when expelled through the nozzle. These extinguishers are ideal for indoor applications that house sensitive equipment.

Wheeled fire extinguishers, or wheeled units, are large capacity cylinders that require wheels to be moved and repositions. They come in both stored pressure or cartridge operated varieties and are most commonly found at airports, parking facilities, or construction sites – locations that require more agent capacity. These units range in size from 50lbs to as much as 350lbs of agent.

Tough Industrial Settings Demand Equally Tough Fire Extinguishers

A chemical plant is a rugged environment. Class B fires, in particular, occur in hazardous industrial settings.

Cartridge operated fire extinguishers were created to withstand harsh daily treatment and control Class B fires starting from:

  • Alcohols
  • Flammable liquids
  • Flammable gases
  • Lacquers
  • Oil spills
  • Oil-based paints
  • Petroleum greases
  • Solvents
  • Tars

Think places like fuel storage, oil-based paint storage, paint spray booths, auto repair shops, aviation tugs and fueling carts, dip tanks, welding shops, manufacturing facilities, telecommunication, and more when considering if a cartridge operated extinguisher is right for your facility. 

Cartridge operated Fire Extinguishers Are Suitable For Low Temperatures

When a fire occurs in a tough, low-temperature environment, time is a factor. Often, chemical plants have cooler temperatures to preserve products. A cartridge-operated fire extinguisher is a more dependable safety device in cold temperature settings. Extinguishers that are pressurized with CO2 and contain dry chemical agents are resistant to temperatures as cold as -40 degrees Fahrenheit.

High-Flow and Delivery Speed Handles a Fire Situation Faster

The rate of flow and the speed of delivery makes cartridge operated fire extinguishers more effective in harsh environments. A high-flow delivers a faster extinguishing-agent discharge from a farther distance, keeping its operator away from the fire.

Quick Recharging Right Where You Are

You need a fully-charged fire extinguisher ready at all times. Unlike other types of fire extinguishers, a cartridge operated model can be recharged immediately after each use. Furthermore, this can be accomplished onsite, making for simpler continued maintenance.

If you are looking for the most experienced among fire suppression and fire sprinkler companies of Philadelphia, Marco Protection Systems, LLC is here to assist you with your safety needs. We serve the surrounding areas as well, providing sprinkler fire protection in Lancaster County down to the Pennsylvania-Maryland border and east to parts of Delaware and New Jersey. We carry a variety of extinguishers, including cartridge operated fire extinguishers, to protect your employees and property. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that you have the right type of fire extinguishers for your chemical plant or business. Contact us for a FREE quote today!


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