Advantages of Silicone Fire Alarm Cable for High Temperature Applications
Posted Feb 18, 2015
Perhaps you’ve been using mineral insulated (MI) cable to meet fire alarm electrical code
because you thought there was nothing else available. That is no longer true. There is now an
alternative solution to MI cables the fully meet the 2 hour fire resistive circuit integrity
requirement for high rises and critical facilities. Silicone based fire alarm cables are an
exceptional alternative to MI cables. Read on to find out more about the product’s numerous
Silicone Fire Alarm Cable Advantage #1: Safety – Silicone fire alarm cable ensures that
fire alarm systems function in extreme environments for long periods of time. As a result, it
allows time for evacuation and gives first responders more response time. Silicone fire alarm
cable could mean the difference between saved lives and lost lives, which in and of itself makes
the product worth the investment.
The zinc-coated conduit that many high rises depend on can fail in as few as 20 minutes.
Is this enough time for all occupants to evacuate safely? Maybe if the high rise is 10 stories or
less, but unlikely even then. That is because during most practice drills the chaos that ensues
during an actual emergency cannot be replicated. And too-early failure of the cable can have
devastating consequences, namely a severing of voice communication with emergency response
Silicone Fire Alarm Cable Advantage #2 – No zinc – Silicone fire alarm cable uses
silicone rather than the known-to-fail material zinc. Extreme heat can erode the zinc coating on
traditional fire alarm cable in under 30 minutes. Indeed, the presence of even a small amount of
zinc in the conduit can precipitate this early failure. And yet, zinc cable can still legally operate
in the United States. Non-zinc (e.g., silicone) electrical metallic tubing on the other hand
consistently demonstrate greater than three hours of survivability. This substantially greater time
allowance enables safe evacuation from even the tallest high rises.
Silicone Fire Alarm Cable Advantage #3: Flexibility and Ease of Installation – Silicone
fire alarm cable is more flexible and, as an extension of that, easier to install than MI cable.
Silicone fire alarm cables are easily pulled through an EMT conduit system that has also been
certified with the cable to provide the utmost in fire safety.
Silicone Fire Alarm Cable Advantage #4: Standard Meeting – Silicone fire alarm cable
meets the newest standards. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) recently issued the UL2196 interim
protocol, which requires that the full system be certified, including the make, type and size of the
EMT conduit, couplings, clamps, inserts and boxes. More specifically, DuraLife FPLTM silicone
fire alarm cable was recently the first cable of its kind to be certified under UL2196, Tests for
Fire Resistive Cables, with the newly instituted requirement that submitted cables contain five
times the number of wires or cables to pass the fire test without failure.
When high performance wire or cables like DuraLife FPL fire alarm cable is called for, contact
a high performance cable and wire expert to discuss the advantages that apply to your specific