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What is Intrinsically Safe, & Do I Need It?

Intrinsically Safe Definition

Combustible Job-Sites

Certain job-site locations are particularly prone to the hazards of combustion. Industries such as petrochemical, gas, and some types of manufacturing, typically have exposure to these risks. When using any type of electrical equipment (including two-way radios and radio accessories) precautions should be taken when working in an environment with combustible materials in the atmosphere. One precaution is to insure all electrical equipment meets intrinsically safe standards for the type of environment it will be operated in.  This write-up does not serve as a source to determine how a location should be classified, it's purpose is for general information and to help our customers understand equipment classification markings of intrinsically safe radios.

 

What Does Intrinsically Safe Mean?

Intrinsically safe equipment is engineered to provide explosive protection to the electrical circuits of a device. Equipment designated by the manufacturer as intrinsically safe is designed so it will not release sufficient electrical or thermal energy to cause ignition of combustible elements present in the atmosphere. There are different intrinsically safe classifications based on the type of hazardous material present where the equipment will be operated.

Intrinsically Safe Equipment Ratings

Equipment certified as Intrinsically Safe must be distinctively marked in accordance to the classified area in which it can be used. The minimum marking must indicate: Class, Division, Group, Maximum safe operating temperature or temperature range, and any special conditions that must be observed Remember, both the radio and it's accessories (battery, headset, etc.) must be IS-Approved. For information about the rating on a specific radio it is best to check with the manufacturer. The rating information is usually indicated on the product brochure or spec sheet for each radio (found on most manufacturer's websites). We can help get you the correct information if you need more detail.

 

Tips For Using Intrinsically Safe Radios

 

Hazardous Location Standards & Regulation

In North America, a variety of standards and regulatory agencies oversee safety issues of hazardous locations. Regulations defining hazardous locations by means of a Class and Division system have been formulated by the National Electrical Code (NEC); Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Compliance to these regulations is required by equipment manufacturers who wish to designate their equipment as 'Intrinsically Safe'. These standards enable manufacturers to design explosion-protected electrical equipment. This equipment is then tested at agencies such as SGS, Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and Factory Mutual (FM) for compliance. On successful completion of the tests, these agencies issue certificates certifying that the required safety standards for explosion protected have been met.

Hazardous Location Classifications

The classification system most widely used in North America is defined by NEC, CEC and NFPA Publication 70. They define the type of hazardous substance that is, or may be, present in the air in quantities sufficient to produce explosions or ignitable mixtures. Actually determining the classification of a specific location requires a thorough understanding of the particular site. For more information on classification please go to the appropriate regulatory agency.

CLASS GROUP DIVISION (NEC Article 500)
Class I (NEC Article 501) Division 1 Division 2
Flammable Gas, Vapors & Liquid
 
A. Acetylene
B. Hydrogen, Butadiene, etc.
C. Ethylene, Ethyl Ether, etc.
D. Propane, Acetone, Ammonia, etc.
In which ignitable concentration of hazards exists under normal operation conditions and/or where hazard is caused by frequent maintenance or repair work or frequent equipment failure. In which ignitable concentrations of hazards are handled, processed or used, but which are normally in closed containers or closed systems from which they can only escape through accidental rupture or breakdown of such containers or systems
Class II (NEC Article 502)
Combustible Dusts
 
E. Metal dusts
F. Carbon dusts
G. Other dusts: flour, grain, wood, plastic, chemicals
Class III (NEC Article 503)
Ignitable Fibers & Flyings No specified groups. Types of materials: rayon, cotton, hemp, cocoa fiber, jute, istle, oakum, Spanish moss, etc.

Temperature Class

The temperature class specified for the equipment shall not exceed the ignition temperature of the specific gas or vapor to be encountered. Ignition temperature is the minimum temperature required, at normal atmospheric pressure in the absence of a spark or flame, to set afire or cause self-sustained combustion independently of the heating or heated element.

Temp Class T1 T2 T2A T2B T2C T2D T3 T3A T3B T3C T4 T4A T5 T6
Degree F 842 572 536 500 446 419 392 356 329 320 275 248 212 185
Degree C 450 300 280 260 230 215 200 180 165 160 135 120 100 85

 

Intrinsically Safe Radios

       Land-Based Operations
        Select models: # Channels Watts # Prog
Keys
Display Keypad Key Features Options
NEW Vertex ISEVX-531 32 5 3     • Digital  • Intrinsically Safe
NEW Vertex ISEVX-534 512 5 7 Yes   • Digital  • Intrinsically Safe
NEW Vertex ISEVX-539 512 5 9 Yes Yes • Digital  • Intrinsically Safe
NEW Icom F4201DEX (UHF)
Icom F3201DEX (VHF)
16 4 3     • Digital  • Intrinsically Safe  • Waterproof
  Vertex ISVX-451 32 5 3     • Intrinscially Safe
  Vertex ISVX-454 512 5 7 Yes   • Intrinscially Safe
  Vertex ISVX-459 512 5 9 Yes Yes • Intrinscially Safe
       Sea & Land Operations
       Model Marine Channels Land
Channels
Watts Display

Water
Proof

Options
  STD HX370S-IS US, Canada, International, & NOAA 40 VHF 5 Yes Yes Intrinsically Safe
  STD HX400-IS US, Canada, International, & NOAA 40 VHF 5 Yes Yes Intrinsically Safe
  Icom M88-IS US, Canada, International, & NOAA 22 VHF 5 Yes Yes Intrinsically Safe
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