Frequently Asked Questions about Element Fire Extinguishers
IS ELEMENT AFFECTED BY EXTREME WEATHER?
Element has been tested to work effectively in temperatures from -140F to +320F. Moreover, Element's solid construction and no moving parts make it unaffected by harsh environments or humidity.
IS THE GAS SAFE TO BREATHE?
Element's discharge is safe to breathe and is both non-corrosive and non-toxic. General safe practices are always recommended and the discharge should not be aimed at a person's face.
DOES ELEMENT MAKE A MESS LIKE A TRADITIONAL EXTINGUISHER?
Element's discharge gas is totally clean and will not leave any residue. During discharge a chemical reaction does take place which occasionally expels a trace amount of soot from the casing. Even in the most extreme instance, the net total of discharge is so minuscule compared to a traditional extinguisher that it is effectively considered to be non-existent. Beyond the clean nature of the discharge Element is non-corrosive, non-toxic, and environmentally safe.
HOW DOES ELEMENT WORK?
Element works by fighting fires on the molecular level. Its gas chemically interrupts the chain of combustion effectively extinguishing a fire without making any mess and without removing surrounding oxygen.
For full technical explanation / diagram, click here (PDF file opens in new window).
HOW DO YOU BEST APPROACH A FIRE WITH AN ELEMENT EXTINGUISHER?
Unlike a dry chemical extinguisher that combats a blaze by depositing a large amount of solid powder on the fire, an Element extinguisher fights a fire by releasing a gas. This gas attaches itself to the oxygen surrounding the fire robbing its ability to stick to the chain of combustion (without affecting ones ability to breath that oxygen). The goal is therefore to use the gas coming out the Element extinguisher to create a ‘cloud of containment’ around a fire. Creating a cloud that prevents any outside and un-attached oxygen from getting to the fire is essential and is the same strategy that should also be used with a Halon/Halotron or CO2 extinguisher.
The two worst things you can do when fighting a fire with a gas extinguisher is to be too close or to rush the process. Being very close to a fire means that a cloud cannot be formed blocking any new oxygen that will continue to feed the flame. This is particularly problematic in an isolated pan situation where being too close will only chase the flames around. Rushing the process by moving the extinguisher around a lot also prevents a cloud from being formed and diminishes the performance of the extinguisher.
The best technique is to take advantage of the long discharge time offered by the Element extinguisher and to approach a fire from a moderate distance progressively getting closer to its source. During the approach, move the extinguisher slowly around the fire always directing towards the center. This will contain the fire and allow the gas the ability to work.
Tight areas with lots of pockets (like the engine bay of a car) brings out the strengths of the Element extinguisher as the gas, which is heavier than air, will fill all the voids not directly accessible; both putting out a fire and preventing a re-flash.
DOES ELEMENT REQUIRE SERVICE & DOES IT EXPIRE?
Element's solid construction, no moving parts, and lack of compressed gas (unlike a traditional fire extinguisher) means it will never need any service or upkeep. In addition the solid chemical that makes up the Element extinguisher has no effective expiration.
IS ELEMENT CERTIFIED?
Originating in Italy, Element has been certified for sale in Europe by CE and TUV. Institutionally it has been tested and certified for use by multiple international military and police groups who have adopted it for active use.
In North America, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is responsible for the certification of fire extinguishers. UL does their testing to a standard that contains a form (physical shape) component followed by a performance component. Because Element's form does not fit inside of UL's guidelines of what a traditional fire extinguisher looks like (i.e. compressed gas cylinder with a hose and measurement gauge) it is immediately passed over for performance testing. At present UL is being campaigned to update its standards to recognize the different form offered by Element and allow it an opportunity to be tested and certified.
Until the standards are updated Element cannot be used to substitute extinguishers in regulated environments that require a UL (or UL endorsed) certification. Element can however be freely used as an supplement to the extinguishers used where regulation exists.
There are no restrictions in non-regulated environments (car, home, personal garage, etc.) allowing Element to be used freely.
CAN ELEMENT BE SHIPPED OUTSIDE OF NORTH OR SOUTH AMERICA?
Element is certified for international transport by surface (land or sea) only. Any method of shipping that involves air (including personal or checked baggage on commercial aircraft) is prohibited by national and international safety regulations. For this reason we only ship Element by surface transportation methods and do not offer express shipping options.
HOW LARGE IS ELEMENT?
E50 is 30cm (11.75") long, 3.2cm (1.2") diameter & weighs 275 grams (0.6lbs).
WHERE IS ELEMENT MADE?
Element is designed and manufactured in Italy.
IS ELEMENT SAFE AROUND CHILDREN AND PETS?
Element discharges a non-toxic gas that will not harm children and animals. General safe practices are always recommended and the discharge should not be aimed directly at a child or animal.