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 www.BCGA.co.uk ‘Leaflet L6 Cylinders in Fires’ is free to download