The United States has enjoyed over 70 years of energy from natural gas. And with greater gas reserves thanks to newer technologies, we increasingly are converting from dirty coal and oil to clean gas for our energy sources. That’s good news for industry, for home owners, and for our trade balance.
In addition to being cleaner, we have learned how to store, distribute, and use gas more safely. Better gas safety assures wider gas utilization, and American gas standards need to constantly evolve to provide a baseline of safety to further drive the conversion to gas.
One important safety device used throughout the world and required for all gas appliances in many European countries is thermal or heat activated gas shutoffs, such as the FireBag®.
The FireBag is a passive gas safety device which does not impede the flow or delivery of gas – UNLESS a fire occurs. When a fire is ignited and the ambient temperature reaches 212°F, the fusible alloy within the FireBag melts and releases a spring-loaded plug to shut off the flow of gas, and thereby preventing the gas from feeding the fire. With heat activated gas shutoffs, gas flow is controlled even in fire situations, preventing the kind of large-scale damage that occurred in two recent Seekonk, MA fires.
Natural Gas Safety Standards
The Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Canada spurred on a harmonization of North American gas standards between the U.S. ANSII and the Canadian CSA standards. The harmonization of these standards was also seen as a step toward harmonization with international standards.
Current ANSII/CSA valve standards reference thermal activated shutoffs in ANSII Z21.90, the standard for Gas Convenience Outlets.
Also the Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires thermal activated gas shutoffs on all gas piping into buildings that have gas pipes that exceed 4 inches in diameter.
In Europe, DIN 3586 specifies the requirements for thermal activated shutoffs, including testing, materials, connections, temperature, and torque requirements.
Gas exploration, utilities, industries, fire marshals, and building inspectors face an alphabet soup of gas standards, regulations and insurance requirements, including ANSII/CSA, ICC International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC), NFPA, and FM. The codes and regulations allow us to enlarge our gas-based energy infrastructure to enjoy the advantage gas offers over coal and oil, while continuously increasing our safety.
More information on the FireBag thermal activated shutoff is available at: