Four major associations representing the fire protection industry, in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announced their commitment to a voluntary code of practice to minimize unnecessary emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), greenhouse gases used as fire protection agents.
As part of the partnership, industry and EPA are initiating a program to monitor emissions of HFCs from the fire protection sector. The program launch was announced at the 13th Annual Earth Technologies Forum in Washington, D.C.
"HFCs are essential substitutes for ozone-depleting halons, especially where space, weight, and speed of extinguishment are important," stated Stephen Summerill, vice president for business development of Kidde plc, a major fire equipment manufacturer that led the effort to develop the industry code of practice. "The fire protection industry is committed to the responsible use of these critical agents and to developing practices that minimize emissions."
The Fire Equipment Manufacturers' Association (FEMA), Fire Suppression Systems Association (FSSA), Halon Alternatives Research Corporation (HARC) and National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors (NAFED) worked together with EPA to develop the voluntary code and will encourage each of their members to follow the emission reduction strategies. The emission reduction strategies focus on following all applicable government regulations and industry standards, limiting use for testing and training and minimizing emissions from false discharges and during storage, handling and transport.
The halons used for fire protection were phased out of production two years before any other ozone-depleting substance and programs were instituted by the fire protection industry prior to the phase-out to eliminate their use for testing and training.
"The fire protection industry played a leading role in the transition from ozone-depleting chemicals. They are demonstrating continued leadership by minimizing emissions of those newer substitutes that are greenhouse gases," said Jeff Cohen, chief of the Alternatives and Emissions Reduction Branch of EPA's Global Programs Division. "We look forward to continued collaborations with the industry in implementing the voluntary code of practice."
The HFC Emissions Estimating Program (HEEP) is a data collection effort intended to estimate emissions of HFCs from fire protection applications. It provides a format to help industry minimize emissions by setting benchmarks, by providing the incentives to make improvements to current standards and practices, by documenting the industry's commitment to safety and responsible use and by providing data to support these substitutes for halon systems.
edited by Sandy Smith ([email protected])