Flash fire: myth & reality from pharma perspective
Do flash fires last only for 3 seconds?
Short duration fires are a rare exception. Open the newspaper, turn on the TV or visit a web site such as U.S. Chemical Safety Board to see firsthand evidence of just how extensive fires usually are when they occur at manufacturing, chemical and petroleum-based industrial sites. Three seconds is a performance specification that is only used to qualify a garment as FR. It has nothing to do with establishing the correct level of PPE workers need in your particular fire hazard environment.
Is compliance to NFPA 2112 sufficient for protection against flash fire?
There are no short cuts – do the homework, generate the data, and work with garment providers to understand what type of garments or garment systems will provide the levels of protection required.
Knowing the duration of a fire is usually important in understanding potential damage to infrastructure and fire escalation factors, as has occurred in large industrial incidents. However, when selecting PPE, the duration of the thermal exposure a person might experience during escape is the important factor. This is normally determined through a site and task hazard analysis.
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