FAQs

Q: What is ARA FirePASS

A:

ARA FirePASS is an oxygen-reduction fire prevention system that prevents fire by creating an environment of breathable, controlled oxygen-reduced air that prevents fire ignition.

Q: How does ARA FirePASS work?

A:

Oxygen-reduced (hypoxic) air is produced by partly filtering out oxygen from ambient atmospheric air. Normal atmosphere contains 21% oxygen. The hypoxic air put into the space protected by ARA FirePASS is 15% oxygen and 84% nitrogen (1% is made up of argon, carbon dioxide and other gases). A fire cannot start in this environment. Common flammable solid materials and liquids cannot be ignited with an oxygen level below 16%.

Q: What are the benefits of ARA FirePASS?

A:
  • Certainty of avoiding the outbreak and spread of fire.
  • Continuous fire prevention without any interruption. No refilling or replacement needed.
  • Straightforward installation process compared with a sprinkler system or a traditional fire suppression system.
  • Very small foot-print and little building space required.
  • Environmentally friendly – no chemicals used.
  • Easy to install and maintain.
  • Retaining access to protected areas at any time.
  • Scalable to any needed size of space, that shall be protected.
  • Slows oxidation and reduces deterioration of materials, equipment, documents and artifacts.

Q: Is ARA FirePASS safe?

A:

ARA FirePASS is safe for people and safe for the environment. ARA FirePASS produces and uses breathable air for fire prevention. The ARA FirePASS agent is simply oxygen-reduced (hypoxic) air.

There has been extensive medical research in the UK, Europe and Australia to support the safety of working in a hypoxic environment of oxygen at 15%.

At sea level, 15% oxygen content is equivalent, in terms of human physiology, to normal atmospheric air at an elevation of around 2,700 metres (9,000 feet) above sea level or being on a commercial flight. Millions of people around the world live at altitudes equivalent to exposure at or below 15% oxygen concentration at sea level.

Hypoxic air environments are currently used for physical training and rehabilitation of athletes, as well as in medical research.

Click to download Professor Matthew Peters’ report and checklist of considerations for anyone working in or visiting a hypoxic environment.

Q: What are the suitable environments for an ARA FirePASS system?

A:
  • Data Centres
  • Server Rooms
  • Electrical Switch Rooms
  • Power Factor Correction Rooms
  • Telecommunication Rooms
  • Warehouses
  • Museums
  • Archives
  • Libraries
  • Laboratories
  • Control Rooms
  • Food Storage & Preparation Rooms

Q: What are the limitations on installation?

A:

Hypoxic air fire prevention systems shall not be installed for use in areas where:

  • Sufficient infiltration control cannot be achieved.
  • An alternative source of oxygen is present.
  • Oxidizing agents exist that have the potential to reduce oxygen concentration by chemical reaction (e.g. chlorine).
  • Substances or processes exist that evolve gases capable of modifying the atmosphere such that the oxygen concentration is reduced (e.g. toxic displacement).

Q: How does the system control oxygen monitoring?

A:

The system is designed to enable the oxygen concentration levels to be monitored on a continual basis by a minimum of two independent oxygen sensors in different locations in
each protected space. These oxygen sensors transmit to monitoring and control points (e.g. the fire alarm panel and the building management system), as required.

Performance indicators show, as a minimum, for each protected space:

  • Oxygen concentration level as indicated by every oxygen sensor.
  • High and low oxygen alarm conditions.
  • An output indicating the operation of any other system alarms.

Q: Does the system log oxygen levels and alarms?

A:

The system design will enable the following data to be recorded and stored for a minimum
of 12 months:

  • Oxygen concentration levels (minimum every 10 minutes)
  • Alarms (event-driven)
  • Duty cycle (event-driven)