Cost-effective fire suppression product has desired impact

25th August 2017 By: Simone Liedtke - Writer

Fire-protection equipment supplier Fire Security & Techniques (FST) has just started supplying the FST Fire Orb – which supresses fires – to those living in informal settlements to mitigate the damage caused by a fire incident.

The FST Fire Orb comprises a lightweight casing of frangible material and a protective exterior sheathing, and is activated when brought into direct contact with flames.

FST aims to provide the equipment for these areas as part of a community initiative that has gained company support through sponsorship, in exchange for the inclusion of their branding on the packaging.


ommon causes of fires in shacks and informal settlements are primus and paraffin stoves, which are normally used for cooking and heating and can be unsafe, says FST MD Neil Hughes.

The FST Fire Orb is “easy to operate, cost effective and the first line of defence” in fire protection, comprising a small nonlethal explosive mechanism that disperses a dry chemical agent over a 3 m area. The agent attacks the fire by either suppressing or extinguishing it, Hughes explains, adding that the FST Fire Orb works with most types of fires.

“The force of the bursting device is not harmful to humans, animals or property and its bursting energy is further minimised with low-density and low-mass components,” he avers, adding that no part of the device has mass or density sufficient to constitute a ballistic hazard.

A pyrotechnic detonator is located in the internal cavity of the device at or near the centre of the mass and is activated by fuse cords extending from the interior to the exterior surfaces. The device will self-activate on direct contact with open flames, not heat.

Once activated, the FST Fire Orb will emit a loud bang of between 119 dB to 138 dB, alerting people nearby, and disperse the dry chemical powder which will extinguish or suppress the fire.

Hughes further enthuses that the FST Fire Orb can be rolled or thrown into a fire, and will auto-activate within three seconds to seven seconds.

It can also be wall-mounted and effectively placed to put out fires caused by electrical shortages; fat, oil or paraffin on stoves; fires in vehicles; or fires in a workshop or factory.

“The various community officials in informal settlements who have seen the Fire Orb are very keen to obtain the device for their communities,” he notes, adding that funding for the project, however, hinders distribution to disadvantaged communities.

Extensive tests and demonstrations were also conducted in June, in conjunction with the Tshwane Fire Department, for various community officials.

FST also supplies the locally manufactured Eckoshield hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) 227 pre-engineered fire suppression hardware system.

The FST flagship product range is part of the company’s fixed automatic fire suppression systems, such as its modular and engineered Eckoshield HFC 227 and Inergen IG541 systems.

With these systems, the gas is released from the specially designed nozzle, which is either mounted on the cylinder or in the risk area, resulting in site owners having to deal with minimal interruption to business.

Unlike water, Hughes explains, the gas does not damage equipment plants and stock, including food products, and is safe for normally occupied spaces, thereby ensuring that site owners and users are able to easily continue operating soon after a fire.

“There is no clean-up required and the gases are nonconductive and nontoxic.”

FST’s design and commission technical staff are accredited by the South African Qualification and Certification Committee, known as SAQCC, and can assist with design and presite inspections, as well as with commissioning, final inspection and room integrity testing of installations.

“FST has pioneered the industry in local product development and prides itself on supplying high-quality locally produced equipment that conforms to the required legislations and standards,” Hughes concludes.