Nearly 200 countries have signed an agreement to reduce hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) - the hydrogen, carbon, fluorine-based compound that is commonly used in refrigerators and air conditioners.
The goal is to limit the rise in global warming by less than 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the 21st century. HFCs have greater heat-trapping characteristics and are considered an ideal refrigerant choice given their efficiency, low toxicity and flammability. By 2024, HFCs will be fully prohibited in retail food refrigeration and in air conditioning systems in the U.S.; other countries will follow a similar discontinuance timeline. The challenge is that there is no easy way to go about replacing these systems with an ideal combination of efficiency, low toxicity, and flammability. Until this ideal solution is found, one or more of these characteristics will have to be sacrificed. As is often the case with new technologies, even with the most code compliant installations, unintended fires can occur. Emergency responders and others need to be trained and educated on the properties and dangers associated with flammable refrigerants.
Learn more about the emerging threat of flammable refrigerants and the new training program from NFPA, which details what responders need to know to be prepared and stay safe.
Interested in other new technology response challenges and solutions?
Check out NFPA’s Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Safety Training and Energy Storage and Solar Systems Training. Find out how to prepare for incidents involving electric, hybrid, fuel cell and gaseous fuel vehicles on the road today, and how to embrace renewable energy sources and respond if potential new hazards arise.