Fighting Fire with Fire
Fireaway LLC's unique fire-extinguishing agent is environmentally friendly and 10 to 15 times more effective than others on the market
Since its 2005 founding, manufacturer Fireaway LLC has doubled its sales every year. The Minnetonkabased company's line of fire-extinguishing systems and products, called Stat-X®, now has it on track to accomplish the same feat in 2011.
While typical systems require installing a series of pipes to distribute an extinguishing agent, Stat-X® devices can simply be hung from the ceiling, and cost about half the price. The Stat-X® formulation itself is made primarily from potassium-based compounds and is
continuously improved by Fireaway's R&D team. It is a flammable solid compound held within a double-walled stainless steel container resembling a paint can. When activated, the compound produces an aerosol agent via chemical reaction that can extinguish a fire 10 to 15 times
more effectively than other agents, often within seconds.
"When the Stat-X® unit receives a signal from a releasing panel, the compound itself burns and the products of decomposition in the burning reaction are actually the extinguishing agent," explains Marc Gross, president and chief operating officer.
The burning compound makes an aerosol that pressurizes the canister and then releases into the air in a steady stream to extinguish the fire, essentially fighting fire with fire. Fireaway sells canisters in a variety of sizes for various facilities. It also offers a portable,
grenade-like version of the device, which firefighters can throw into a burning room to delay a fire's escalation.
Fireaway's UL listed device boasts an abundance of benefits. Particles created by the chemical reaction are so small--only one to two microns in size--that they remain buoyant and vent into the atmosphere, greatly reducing the amount of cleanup required in comparison to other
fire extinguishers. Stat-X® is also the only fireextinguishing agent apart from water that has no adverse effect on the environment.
Gross acknowledges that with a new product, meeting the variable quality and safety standards of clients around the world is an ongoing challenge. "Everywhere you go, somebody raises a red flag and says, 'No, we want to do these tests.' ... No one's ever seen it before, so
it immediately becomes a high school science project," he says.
However, the product's simplicity, efficacy and affordability have attracted customers in 70 countries around the world, including such high-profile clients as the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and NASA. In 2011, Gross is already looking forward to more major installations.
"Both NASA shuttle transport vehicles that carry the shuttle to the pad are 100 percent protected with Stat-X®. We're protecting the engine compartments on the MATV vehicles going to Afghanistan. Just this morning, we also had a successful test after a year of field trials
for the entire Belgian train system, for all of their locomotives," Gross says. "I anticipate we'll start implementation on that this year. We also anticipate implementation of protection for the EuroStar trains, so we're becoming accepted all over the world."