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Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a colorless, odorless, and chemically inert gas that is both readily available and electrically non-conductive. It primarily extinguishes fire by lowering the oxygen level that supports combustion in a protected area. This fire suppression mechanism makes CO2 suppression systems highly effective, requiring minimal clean-up, but should be used in normally unoccupied hazard locations or otherwise avoided by personnel when discharged. CO2 suppression systems may utilize the gas through a total flooding approach, but carbon dioxide is also the only gaseous agent that may be utilized through local applications. Carbon dioxide may be stored in either high-pressure spun steel cylinders (HPCO2 suppression systems) or low-pressure light wall refrigerated tanks (LPCO2 suppression systems).
NOTE: Both HPCO2 and LPCO2 systems are equally effective at fighting fires. Neither one is better than the other in terms of extinguishment.
HPCO2 systems have several advantages over LPCO2 systems.
LPCO2 systems have several advantages over HPCO2 systems.