The British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA) has issued revised guidance on dealing with compressed gas cylinders in fires.

It is important that this information is communicated to those involved in the operation, use or storage of compressed gas cylinders as a result PGS training courses have been updated to reflect the new information.

The information published as L6 Cylinders in fires. Revision 5: 2017  is available to download free of charge from the BCGA website and is summarised below:

Gas cylinders in fires

Gas cylinders are designed to contain gases under pressure.
However,  cylinders are at risk of failure and may rupture due to the combined effects of increasing pressure and weakening of the cylinder wall when exposed to extreme heat – therefore it is important that users understand how to respond in the event of a fire.

Operator actions in the event of an emergency

In the event of a gas leak or ignition, if it is safe to do so:

  • Isolate the leak by turning off the cylinder valve

  • Control the fire using a dry powder fire extinguisher

If a gas cylinder is involved in a fire:

  • Do not approach or attempt to move the cylinder or operate the valve – keep away

  • Raise the alarm

  • Evacuate the immediate area and keep others away

  • Contact the Fire & Rescue Service

  • Inform the Fire & Rescue Service of the location, quantity and type of gases involved

Acetylene Gas Cylinders in Fires – additional information

The actions above also apply to acetylene cylinders.

However,due to acetylene’s ability to burn within the cylinder, even when external fires may have been extinguished, additional measures are required.
The Fire & Rescue Service will adopt the following procedures:

  • Apply cooling water to the cylinder for 1 hour

  • Undertake monitoring/cooling measures for a further 1 hour

  • If circumstances dictate this may be repeated

Should any cylinders be involved in a fire do not use, quarantine & inform your cylinder supplier

Further information is available via ‘Leaflet L6 Cylinders in Fires’ is free to download