Flame Guard USA originally earned its reputation with a dry powder aerosol device for extinguishing fire that used a pyrotechnic igniter. That product line has since been replaced with a new technology that might best be described as a non-explosive grenade designed for hazardous environments.
Joe Kuesis, managing partner for Flame Guard USA, said the company’s new manufacturer asked a simple question.
“They asked us, ‘If you could have the best product possible, what would it be?” Kuesis said. “We said we didn’t want to continue using the pyrotechnic igniter. We wanted a product that would not emit a flame upon deployment, would cover a much larger area and would be much less expensive to our customers.”
The new device is called the X-Tinguish FST (short for Fire Suppression Tool). It still requires the user to pull a pin. But instead of detonating an igniter, the pin closes an electrical circuit that activates specialized heat transfers inside the unit. This in turn triggers deployment of the aerosol extinguishing agent.
“We use a proprietary heat synch technique that absorbs a lot more heat than any other suppression device of this type,” Kuesis said. “You won’t see any flames emit from it. It was mandatory that this was accomplished 100 percent for the safety of the user in any situation.”
Eliminating the pyrotechnic igniter makes the X-Tinguish® FST safe to use in explosive environments where flammable vapors may be present.
“It can cover an area up to 5,300 cubic feet within seconds,” Kuesis said. “It can put out Class B and C fires while simultaneously drawing down the temperature in a confined space from 1,200 degree Fahrenheit to 200 degrees F in 30 seconds.”
It will fully suppress Class A fires and buy firefighters and first responders the time they need to set-up and attack the fire, he said.
Kuesis resists calling the handheld unit an extinguisher, preferring the term “non-pressurized mobile suppression device.” The aerosol contained within the FST was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a halon substitute in 1994 long before any competitive product was even developed. It is non-toxic, non-conductive, and non-corrosive. It does not reduce oxygen when utilized.
The X-Tinguish FST seems to be the next step in the evolution of aerosol fire fighting and a huge step in the right direction. The X-Tinguish FST boasts a maximum shelf life of 15 years. Activation is powered by a five-year battery that is replaceable. Flame Guard USA introduced its newest products at this year’s NFPA Exposition in Chicago, IL.
Among the eyecatching products X-Tinguish. Made in three sizes, the largest units (800ml.) are for Class A, B and K fires. The middle sized units (300ml.) are for Class A and K fires and smallest units (150ml.) are for Class K fires only. “
X-Tinguish fire extinguishers are powered by a cutting edge elastomer force element. In simple terms, “fill a balloon with air and then let the air out,” Kuesis said. “The elasticity of the balloon forces the air out. Now make the balloon out of space age silicone, increase its thickness and fill it mechanically without gases. As the silicone expands, it increases the quantity of stored potential energy.
When the unit’s button is pushed or the trigger is pulled, it releases the agent contained within the unit via kinetic energy. The novel kinetic energy of the release system is then mated to a light weight plastic container that makes X-Tinguish fire extinguishers much easier to handle than a traditional fire extinguisher, Kuesis said.
Rather than expend the entire contents of the device with a single use, all X-Tinguish fire extinguishers can be shut off if the fire is immediately extinguished, saving the rest of the extinguishing agent for the next emergency. However, it is recommended by UL 711 to fully utilize the contents at each event.
X-Tinguish fire extinguishers are the first units of their kind and can be deployed at any angle unlike current fire extinguishers that will lose pressurized gases if tilted to the side when triggered. X-Tinguish fire extinguishers will remain ready for use for three years from their in-service date. They are non-toxic, non-hazardous and environmentally “green.” They emit zero ozone depletion and zero global warming gases.
Another system introduced by Flame Guard USA is called the GreenPulse PEAT system. PEAT is short for Propelled Extinguisher Agent Technology. Like the X-Tinguish FST, the GreenPulse PEAT system eliminates the need for stored pressure to propel the extinguishing agent.
“Think of a bullet,” Kuesis said. “A bullet is not under pressure. But when you strike the cartridge, the explosion of gun powder forces the bullet out.” The GreenPulse PEAT system can detect a fire within 20 milliseconds and deploy its extinguishing agent in 40 milliseconds. “Depending on the size of the system installed, GreenPulse can project the extinguishing agent from 16 feet to 100 feet,” Kuesis said.
The GreenPulse PEAT (Propelled Extinguishing Agent technology) system was specifically designed to suppress engine compartment fires in a variety of vehicles. PEAT stands for propelled extinguishing agent technology. However, it is effective when used against any type of outdoor industrial fire as well.
“We can use pretty much any extinguishing agent from dry powder to the special liquid agents used in Class D fires involving combustible metals,” Kuesis said.
Flame Guard USA, based in Lake Barrington, IL, markets its products under a simple slogan – “Innovation in fire suppression.”
“We try to take fire suppression to the next level and show people what can be done,” Kuesis said.