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Metal Fire Hazards Discussed at 32nd FSSA Meeting February 24, 2014

Posted by shawnpci in Fire Protection, Fire Systems, FSSA, Good Stuff to Share.
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The Monday morning session of the 32nd annual meeting of the Fire Suppression Systems Association featured three presentations on fire hazards associated with metals.

Keith Kreitman, Fire Chief of the Redding, CA Fire Department, presented on the hazards associated with fighting live metal fires from the fire service’s point of view. He cited numerous fires involving metals in chip or powered form. Water-based suppression of these incidents was shown to accelerate and intensify the fires. Kreitman explained that traditional fire fighting techniques hold that with enough water application, a metal fire can be extinguished. However, he noted that approaches are changing and that in many cases allowing a metal-based fire to burn itself out is the best course of action. Follow the link below to view some of the dramatic videos that Kreitman shared with the group.

Mahmood Tabaddor, with Underwriter’s Laboratories, reviewed the numerous tests that UL is conducting on lithium-ion batteries. These types of metal-based batteries are becoming more widely used and present fire protection challenges in both the manufacturing and usage of these batteries. Additionally, he noted that the numerous types of battery configurations present testing challenges.

Katherine Adrian of Tyco Fire Protection and Doug Meyers of Minimax USA offered a joint presentation on challenges addressed by commercially available solutions to fight metal-based fires. They referenced guidance provided by NFPA 484 Standard for Combustible Metals. They also highlighted industries where class D fires are common. Emphasis on the importance of housekeeping throughout processes was noted as one of the most important ways to mitigate class D fires. They discussed that active fire suppression of class D fires is best achieved by inert gases by lowering the available oxygen to the fire to below 4% residual.

The FSSA’s 32nd annual meeting concludes on February 25th.

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