What is an “intrinsically safe” radio?
A standard 2-way radio generates sparks and heat during normal operation, which can be dangerous in some work environments. An “intrinsically safe” radio is a special 2-way radio that is designed to prevent fires or explosions by eliminating the sparks and heat that would usually occur while it’s operating. They are also called “explosion proof” radios.
Who needs one?
According to Jason Murphy, Sales Manager for WS Communications, intrinsically safe radios are ideal for hazardous work environments (such as factories, grain silos, chemical plants, refineries, oil rigs, or ethanol plants) that have combustible dust, fumes, liquid, or fibers where a spark could create a dangerous explosion.
Choosing the right class of radio
“Intrinsically safe radios are the right choice for most environments that are highly flammable,” Murphy said. “You should always consult with your safety officer or insurance company to find out which class of intrinsically safe radio is right for your application.”
There are 3 classes:
- Class 1—flammable gas, vapors and liquids
- Class 2—combustible dust
- Class 3—ignitable fibers and filings
What should you look for?
For the best performance, Murphy recommends looking for a radio that:
- Meets military specs—for durability, shock resistance, and vibration
- Meets new division 1 standard—FM3610-10
- Is water-resistant—so it can be used in driving rain, or wet facilities
- Has clear sound quality—at least 500mW audio output
- Has a good warranty—“For example, Kenwood offers a comprehensive 2-year warranty on its radios,” said Murphy
Don’t forget the accessories
Murphy also advises that “for maximum protection, you must use intrinsically safe accessories.” For example, WS Communications offers a complete line of intrinsically safe:
- Speaker microphones