Home Awareness THMG092 – Metal Fires

THMG092 – Metal Fires


We take a look into a little known aspect of both Firefighting and Haz Mat in this episode. Learn the real science behind the methods. Be more than those, “I heard this from a guy” guys.

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metal fire
Today we are going to be talking about the biggest cross over between hazmat and fire.
There is a lot of confusion about this on the fire side and i think it is because fire doesn’t want to learn the hazmat side of it. So it’s just a lot of one line statements, do this, don’t do this. But no one really knows why.
So we are going to do something we don’t do a lot and that is go back and see the actual standards about metal fires. The do’s and dont’s
So one of the first things guys think about is how can I put this fire out. So let’s dive into NFPA.
Just a quick note. We are going over the national standard for metal fires. Make sure you know your AHJ’s procedures. We not saying to ignore what your AHJ want you to do.
NFPA document
The following agents shall not be used as extinguishing agents on combustible metal fires because of adverse reaction or ineffectiveness unless the are compatible with the metal and are effective agents,
Water, foams, halon, Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen, Halocarbon clean agent
ABC dry chem
An incipient fire occurring while the metal powder is in slurry form shall be permitted to be fought using listed class b extinguishing agents, except that halogenated extinguishing agents shall not be used. The use of pressurized extinguishing agents shall not be permitted on a combustible metal powder fire or chip fire, unless applied carefully as not to disturb or spread the combustible metal powder or chip fire
Once the fire is extinguished and a crust is formed the crust shall not be disturbed until the residue has cooled to room temperature
The following information shall be provided to the emergency responder for the safe handling of combustible metal fires
Perform a size up, evaluation and identification of metals involved in the fire
Ensure control of utilities to affected area,(water gases, power)
review safety data sheets for the involved products and if available contact those familiar with product and hazards
Evaluate whether the fire can be isolated safely and allowed to burn out
Determine whether uninvolved product and exposures (other than alkali metals ) can be protected by hose streams, afer and adequate review has been complete
Water shall not be applied to alkali metals in either a fire or non fire situation
use and inert blanket such as argon, helium, nitrogen if the fire is burning in a closed container, such as a dust collection system to control the fire where an adequate delivery system is available and personnel safety is considered,
Evaluate the potential for explosions
use extreme caution with fires involving combustible metal powders, dusts, and fines because of the possibility of explosions, especially if the products become airborne and there is an abaibleignitions source
Evaluate the control and shutdown of both domestic and fire protection water systems to prevent unintended contact of water with burning or molten combustible metal.
Use extinguishing agents that are compatible with the hazards presentMid breakUse extreme caution with fires involving large quantities of product with structures
Most fires involving combustible metals cannot be extinguished in a manner other than providing an inert atmosphere of argon or helium (and nitrogen for alkali metals or ion) if the product is dry
Most fires can be controlled by application of argon or helium (or nitrogen for alkali metals or rion) or by the development of an oxide crust
The temperature of the metals involved in the fire can remain extremely high and the fire can flare up again if the product is disturbed prior to complete oxidation of the products or self-extinguishment
Water in contact with molten combustible metals will result in violent steam explosion and can cause hydrogen explosions and reactions
Isolate the meal as much as possible, large fighters might be impossible to extinguish
Evaluate whether there is adequate drainage to prevent the contact of water with burning metal that is not compatible for protecting exposures
evaluate the fire to determine whether the fire can burn itself out naturally to minimize hazards to personnel and loses the exposures
Requires that a IAP be available on site to emergency responders
must contain specific actions in the event of a combustible metal fire and shall be coordinated with the facility management and emergency responders
The plan shall address locations for remote shutoff of supply systems when any of the following are present
electrical materials
flammable liquids
Toxic materials
other hazmats
Contain safe handling of combustible metals fires
What happens when we add water to this metal fire. Most will increase the burning intensity and possible explosion
Water applied to alkali metals not involved in the fire will result in hazardous decomposition, ignition or explosions
Carbon dioxide will intensify the burning. infact most metals combustible metals will burn in a 100% CO2 atmosphere
Dry chem agents will react with alkali metals and intensify the fire but might need to be used on the non metal part of the fire that has extended to something else.
Halogenated compounds as extinguishing agents have a two fold problem. Not only will they will also produce some really bad byproducts.
Metals like Titanium and zirconium have the potential to produce temperatures in excess of 7000F to 8500F
There dust can explode in temperatures as low as 68 Degrees
the opposite where heavy bars, ingots and thick plates are virtually impossible to ignite.
Metals will extract moisture from concreteHey guys, do you guys have SOP/SOG’s for fentanyl/carfentanil overdoses or labs? I work for a HAZMAT team in central florida just north of orlando. We run a decent amount of opiate OD’s and narcan is pushed with a large amount(6-10mg) a person. What is your thoughts on this? I appreciate it. Also we run a Squad which is a Main HAZMAT and heavy rescue, we also have 3 HAZMAT engines that the Squad backs up. We have 4 towers as well. What are your thoughts of this?I am a HAZMAT guy but likes to fight fire too lol! Is that what a Squad does for you???Benjamin Fulton
FloridaThis is long overdue, but I wanted to thank you for answering my question on the recent ATHMG podcast (about fuel tanks and LEL). Thank you for taking the time to answer my question on-air.As I said earlier, I am still trying to soak up as much information as I can regarding HAZMAT/CBRNE, as a college student without the field experience. In following your podcasts, IG, and other resources, I keep finding links to more and more useful information and resources. Thank you for making those accessible, especially to someone still trying to figure out where to start.To that end, I am also writing if you have any recommended reading material for someone still trying to put together “the puzzle pieces” as you guys so often mention on your podcasts. I know in your first episode, you recommended “Hazardous Materials: Air Monitoring and Detection Devices”. I also heard your interview with Jeff Zeintek, and I plan to read his manual shortly. I didn’t know if there were any other books, manuals, and the like that you would recommend, whether they be detailed guides or conceptual overviews.Thanks again, from someone who’s trying to get “into the job” before they get “on the job”.Andrew Remavich