In July 2012 the Miss GEICO racing team faced a devastating set-back when their World Champion powerboat suffered an internal fire and was engulfed in flames. The flare-up began in the engine compartment and quickly overpowered the traditional HCFC gas fire protection system. Fortunately no one was hurt, but the reigning queen of extreme unlimited class racing was dead in the water.
“We’ve made a lot of advancements to make the new, 4th Generation Miss GEICO the most formidable racing boat in the world,” said the boat’s driver Marc Granet. “And as extra insurance, this time we included an advanced Stat-X® aerosol fire detection and suppression system.”
Traditional fire systems use stored dry chemical or gas suppressant in pressurized tanks. Aerosol fire systems are different. They pack an advanced agent into small, unpressurized stainless steel generators that remain inert until the system actuates in response to fire. Then, a chemical process generates a highly-effective, micron-sized agent that floods the area and quickly suppresses the fire.
A Stat-X aerosol fire system was evaluated against traditional halogenated gas fire suppressants.
|HFC / HCFC Gas System
|Stat-X Aerosol Fire System
|Space is very limited, not easily accessible
|Bulky agent tanks and distribution piping take up room and limit mounting choices
|Small, self-contained aerosol generators fit easily; no distribution piping needed
|Need to maximize fire-fighting
|HFCs require high concentrations
|Stat-X is 10X more effective than HFCs
|Must be lightweight, resist shock, and survive marine environment
|Agent tanks are heavy, under pressure, and subject to leaks from steady vibration
|Unit sizes from 0.8-25 lbs., unpressurized, sealed, with heavy-duty brackets
|Not possible to seal compartment
|Gas over-pressurizes space, escapes
|Design concentration allows some opening
|Highly variable airflow in space
|Tight closure needed to keep gas in space
|Agent suspends in place; reserve discharge
|Low maintenance, easy recharge
|Must regularly inspect pressure level/weigh; drained tanks need to be ordered, replaced
|Stainless steel, long lifespan, no gauges; keep spares handy for change-out on road
|Is it environmentally friendly?
|High Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) and/or Global Warming Potential (GWP)
|Zero ODP, zero GWP; chemically blocks fire, does not work by depleting oxygen
Fire Protection Choice
Bill of Materials (partial)
|Model 1000ME electrical actuation generator, 1 kg (2.2 lbs.)
|1000/1500/2500 stainless steel heavy duty bracket
|Stat-X HyTec primary panel
|Stat-X HyTec operator display panel
|Generator terminal connector
|Generator series connector
|Detection wire adaptor module
|Protectowire linear heat detector cable Type XCR 356°F/180°C
Materials specific for the Miss GEICO installation only. List varies depending on the particular hazard protected.
A Stat-X aerosol fire suppression system was installed in the Miss GEICO IV extreme unlimited class racing boat prior to the 2013 racing season.
Actual installation was done by the Miss GEICO Racing rigging crew. This gave the flexibility needed so the system could be installed during a regular maintenance cycle to minimize racing downtime.
Stat-X operator panel fits neatly in the boat console.