HFCs are the fastest acting of all fire fighting systems, extinguishing levels are reached within 10 seconds whereas inert gases or CO2 systems only reach extinguishing levels after 1-2 minutes. Obviously in many cases speed is essential to safe lives and to protect valuable property (Museum, sophisticated equipments, computer rooms..) and environment.
HFCs are safe to breathe for long periods and they are non-toxic at extinguishing concentrations. Unlike HFCs , inert gases and CO2 do not act directly on the fire but rely on reducing oxygen levels , hence approval authorities have established maximum exposure times for inert gases and banned the use of CO2 for occupied areas.
HFCs have zero ozone depletion potential. The contribution to global warming from using HFCs in fire fighting is minuscule since it is a non emissive application and by the end of the fire fighting system lifetime the installed HFC can be easily recovered and recycled.