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Fire extinguishers in the shop

by PCM
posted 05-13-2010 05:41 AM


39 replies so far

View Dan 's profile

Dan

11 posts in 2922 days


#1 posted 05-13-2010 06:07 AM

Not an expert, but I would assume that a standard ABC extinguisher would do everything you would need it to – wood/paper, electrical and solvent. My personal preference would be CO2 as dry chemical extinguishers make quite a mess and can damage electronics if not cleaned properly (I would think motors would fall in this category). However, for the consumer market, I’m not sure there are too many options other than dry chemical extinguishers. Better to have to clean all of your equipment thoroughly than have to rebuild your shop/house though.

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 2931 days


#2 posted 05-13-2010 06:17 AM

This is what PocketHole69 has wrote from this thread.
————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

1. Combustible Dust

Wood boards / chunks / pieces just burn and are easily controlled with extinguishers, or in a worst case scenario easy to get away from (run). In contrast, combustible dust in an unconfined area flashes and ignites nearby flammable surfaces, potentially setting fire to large portions (or all) of your shop. Combustible dust in confined areas (such as small rooms, dust collectors, paint booths, and tool enclosures) explodes.

Combustible dust explosions kill people. They are a top safety concern of OSHA with recent high-profile incidents such as the sugar plant explosion in Georgia. It doesn’t take much dust to do it either- as little as 1 pound floating around your shop in the air can provide the perfect fuel-to-air ratio for an explosion. The fact that many shops are in basements, utility rooms, and garages where there are ignition sources such as water heaters and furnaces nearby, as well as unshielded tools and frayed cords arcing is the perfect recipe for disaster.

Sources of combustible dust in the wood shop include sawdust, dust collectors, metal dust if you’re in to metal working, and lint / paper products.

The best defense against combustible dust is good housekeeping. Clean up after yourself and don’t let dust accumulate. Try to do your woodworking away from possible sources of ignition and open flame such as pilot lights.

Many will argue for dust collection in the shop, and a well implemented dust collection system can minimize the risk. However, dust collectors pose special hazards of their own and dust collector explosions can occur when a burning bit of sawdust gets introduced to a huge bag of floating dust inside the collector.

Most dust collector fires in industrial settings get out of hand when the dust collector ignites and explodes, and then because of bad housekeeping all the dust outside the collector, shaken up and sent airborne by the dust collector popping, gets ignited by the dust collector explosion. This one-two punch levels buildings, as the video linked below will show:

Combustible Dust: An Insidious Hazard
(Youtube, 30 minutes long. Probably more than you ever wanted to know about dust)

2. Paint / Stain spray in the air and buildup on surfaces

If you want to make something really damn hard to put out when it catches on fire, put about 10 coats of old paint or poly on it. Also spray painting creates the same hazards as combustible dust when in the air.

Use a paint booth or spray outside. Clean up your mess.

3. Metalworking

Metalworking creates metal shavings and dust. Metal shavings and dust burn when they get hot, and metal working is known to create heat.

If you have a metal fire you can’t put it out with a common Class ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher. They burn ridiculously hot so you might not even be able to approach them to drag whatever is burning out of your shop. Spraying water on metals fires usually causes an explosion because they burn so hot that they catalyze the water in to Hydrogen and Oxygen (a flammable gas and an oxidizer to accelerate combustion), causing a violent ignition.

If you work on metal with any regularity and don’t have a Class D fire extinguisher handy you’re asking for your house to be burnt down. Most municipal fire departments, and especially rural volunteer departments, are ill-equipped to handle a metal fire. At the very least you need to have a bucket of sand nearby so you can cover up and slow the combustion process and try to prevent radiant heat ignition of the rest of your shop until the fire department arrives.

4. Oily rags

Oily rags that contain oil, finishes, paint, etc. go through a process of biological and chemical decomposition that creates heat. This decomposition occurs everywhere, even in rags sitting on your workbench exposed. This is a tiny amount of heat- it normally just dissipates in the air and is not even noticed. The problem comes when they are stored in a closed container with other oily rags- the heat can’t escape. When the heat can’t escape it in turn speeds up decomposition, which in turn creates more heat, which in turn speeds up decomposition, etc. until the rags reach the auto-ignition temperature of the rags or chemicals they contain, causing them to spontaneously ignite.

The scary thing about this is you don’t have to be in your shop for it to happen- you can do your finishing, go to bed or work, and then 8 hours later while you’re sound asleep the rags can reach ignition temperature and light your house on fire. It might take days for rags to reach ignition temperature, and having your house burn down while you’re at work really sucks from what I’ve heard.

At the minimum you should store oily rags separate from other waste and remove them from your house when you’re done. Better is a metal can with a tight fitting lid that can contain a fire and starve any that might start of oxygen. Best is a OSHA approved container that is rated for storing oily rags- they really aren’t that expensive when you think about what is at risk (your home and your family)

5. Location

Where a fire starts in your home has a lot to do with if the fire department is going to be able to save your house and everything you own.

The two absolute worst places for a fire to start? The basement and the garage.

Where are many home workshops located? The basement and the garage.

When a fire starts in the basement you have about a 50/50 chance of losing your home, and even more so if your basement is below grade. Basement fires are hard to approach- heat rises so a firefighting going down a staircase to the basement is going to get cooked and may not be able to make it. Basement fires compromise the floor structure of the first level of your home, making firefighter entry in to your house a dangerous proposition. Some fire departments won’t even enter a home when there is a basement fire burning- they don’t want to see their men step on a soft spot in the floor and fall through in to an inferno.

Garage fires are dangerous for obvious reasons- people store flammable stuff in garages: paint, gas, chemicals, cars full of gas, etc. If garage fires are not quickly controlled they can quickly burn out of control, and with most garages attached to houses in the US the rest of the house is just one minimum code requirement wall away.

What can you do to minimize risk?

Those are the major threats. Here is what you can do to minimize the risk:

1. Have a fire extinguisher appropriate to the materials in your shop

You should have, as a minimum, a 5 lb. Class ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher in your shop. You should have one in the garage and kitchen too.

If you are working with metals, you should have some Class D extinguishing agent nearby.

If anyone is wondering what the fire classes are, they are:

Class A: Ordinary Combustibles (wood, paper, etc.)
Class B: Liquid Fuel Fires (paint, stain, gas, etc.)
Class C: Energized Electrical Fires (power tools, wiring shorts, etc.)
Class D: Metals Fires

Read up more on Fire Classes

2. Clean up after yourself

90% of workshop related fire threats can be negated by cleaning up after yourself. A dirty shop is not just messy, it’s unsafe. Your momma was right when she told you to clean your room.

Regularly clean up dust after working with wood products. Clean up spray booths and ventilate after spraying finishes. Take out your trash, and store oily rags properly.

3. Look around and realize what your hazards are

Do you have a pilot light nearby that could light dust next time you’re sanding? Do you have frayed cords or overloaded outlets that can arc and start a fire? Do you have exposed electrical wiring? Do you have a pile of oily rags in the corner by your wood pile?

What can you do to minimize the risk to your home and family? Everyone who’s house burnt down never thought it could happen to them, but one day everything they owned, their pictures, their memories, their pets, and sometimes even their family members were gone. Nearly every house fire I’ve been to could have been prevented. You owe it to yourself and your family to take a minute and minimize the risk of fire.

4. Install a fire alarm

Really, this is a no-brainer. You should have a fire alarm in your shop, in your kitchen, in your garage if different from your shop, and outside every bedroom on every story of your home. Central monitoring is great if you can afford it, but at the very least get one that will go off and wake you and your family up if there is a fire.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

18162 posts in 3547 days


#3 posted 05-13-2010 07:15 AM

That is a very good advice and summary.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View gfolley's profile

gfolley

14 posts in 3228 days


#4 posted 05-13-2010 07:29 AM

With 33 years in the fire service, I agree that you should have an ABC extinguisher in your home shop. And remember that just like any of your other equipment, extinguishers require maintenance. They should be inspected at least once a year for the following:

Operating pressure… that the pressure gauge is in the green area and has not leaked.

Nozzles… that the nozzle is free on obstructions, spiders love to build nests in them.

Extinguishing powder… that the powder is loose, turn the extinguisher upside down and rap on the side with a rubber mallet. If the extinguisher just stays in one position for a long time the powder will tend to cake in the bottom and get hard and all you will get is gas if you try to use it.

General condition… Dents, rust, and dirt can all shorten the life of the extinguisher and make it useless when you need it most.

If you have any doubts about maintaining your extinguisher, you can find companies in the phone book that, for a nominal fee, will check it for you. There are a lot of different types and sizes of extinguishers on the market. When you pick one up, stop your local fire station and they should be able to make sure it is right for your home shop.

-- When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water. Gfolley, Ohio

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a1Jim

116804 posts in 3448 days


#5 posted 05-13-2010 07:32 AM

good info

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View mikethetermite's profile

mikethetermite

590 posts in 3137 days


#6 posted 05-13-2010 08:14 AM

I have a standard ABC extinguisher and two water extinguishers.
I also keep a flashlight and a first aid kit in my workshop.

-- Mike The Termite ~~~~~ Working safely may get old, but so do those who practice it.

View PCM's profile

PCM

135 posts in 2916 days


#7 posted 05-13-2010 11:28 PM

Thanks for all the good input.

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4816 posts in 3045 days


#8 posted 05-13-2010 11:32 PM

Gfolley wrote:

turn the extinguisher upside down and rap on the side with a rubber mallet. If the extinguisher just stays in one position for a long time the powder will tend to cake in the bottom and get hard and all you will get is gas if you try to use it.

Sounds like you’ve raised a child or two, too, huh ? ;-)

-- -- Neil

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5686 posts in 3103 days


#9 posted 05-13-2010 11:42 PM

I’ve got a First Alert 3A 10BC 5lb rechargeable extinguisher in my shop…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com, YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoa-AgyeFWqnQfGIJwdzkog

View Ted Pagels's profile

Ted Pagels

63 posts in 2933 days


#10 posted 05-14-2010 12:24 AM

Hello,

I’m a retired fire chief currently in the business of fire origin and cause investigations and woodworking as time permits.

Steven H above is very correct on most points he expressed. But, I would rather see a smoke detector installed in the shop (and on each level of the home) as opposed to fire alarms (there’s a BIG difference in the two). The smoke detector will sound sooner in a fire situation than a fire alarm device. Smoke kills most people in fire situations before the flames ever reach them if at all. I’ve carried dead people out of homes from very minor fires that smouldered without flames.

Recently I had a rash of fires caused by stain rags lying around left after work is completed. Many stains with linseed oil in them are capable of self-ignition under the right conditions indoors or out. Stain rags, pads or brushes should be disposed of in a pail of water outdoors.

READ THE LABELS!! Never use combustible or flammable (again a BIG difference in the two) liquids indoors for any reason the fumes normally are heavier than air, can and will be ignited by pilots on gas appliances or electrical sparks from others. Never allow projects coated with flammable or combustible finishes (paints, varnishes)to cure (dry) indoors without proper ventilation. If you have a fire because of this you did not have proper ventialtion.

Clever shop people could tap off their domestic water supply piping (with proper back flow prevention device) and install a sprinkler system which are heat activated. When heat reaches a sprinkler head it opens and sprays water on a fire. All sprinkler heads do not open at the same time like you see in the movies unless the HEAT reaches them all. Smoke does not set them off HEAT. The sprinkler heads disperse much less water sooner than a fire hose too many minutes later when the FD arrives as the fire keeps growing and growing and growing…....

I would like to meet you all someday as a fellow woodworker not as your insurance companies fire investigator.

-- Ted Pagels, Green Bay, WI

View PCM's profile

PCM

135 posts in 2916 days


#11 posted 05-14-2010 05:31 AM

Where would one get the sprinkler supplies and the expertise to help guide me through an installation.

View Bibby's profile

Bibby

3 posts in 52 days


#12 posted 12-16-2017 10:28 PM

Thanks for the information. This has been helpful, better than other articles I’ve read.

View msinc's profile

msinc

166 posts in 375 days


#13 posted 12-17-2017 03:29 AM



Where would one get the sprinkler supplies and the expertise to help guide me through an installation.

- PCM

Same place you getting this info…the internet. It really seems like to me that there is way too much material in a wood shop that will burn to count on a fire extinguisher. Seems like a timing thing, all that stuff could get away form you fast and quickly get beyond what a fire bottle can put out…..and alarms just tell you when to run, but they don’t put out the fire…a sprinkler stays back and puts it out while you are running.
One place you might want to try is Lowe’s or Home Depot…many states and counties have passed ordinances requiring new construction to have sprinkler systems. Many insurance companies give discounts for sprinkler systems…this has started a do it yourself market that big box suppliers are starting to cater to. About once a month our local store has a seminar on the weekends about how easy it is to install your own system.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

4564 posts in 3115 days


#14 posted 12-17-2017 05:34 PM

This thread has been a wake-up call. Thanks all for the good advise. To lose your shop or your home or worse, your life needs immediate attention. Do what I’m going to do right now; go out and get a fire extinguisher.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

3733 posts in 2280 days


#15 posted 12-17-2017 06:11 PM

Very good advice here. I would add this. Get some training on how to use a fire extinguisher. Specifically where a fire professional is with you and you actually put out a fire. We did this as training in Iraq for the company I worked for. Was very helpful to know exactly where to put the chemical verses spray and flay and hope it works. Like bullets in a magazine of ammunition the extinguisher only has so much chemical.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7727 posts in 2785 days


#16 posted 12-17-2017 06:43 PM

I keep two ABC extinguishers, one on either side of the shop.

Along those lines, I recently added a DIY squirrel cage air filtration system as well. This has helped quite a bit with controlling dust in the air. I still need to vent when using chemicals though.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4820 posts in 3832 days


#17 posted 12-17-2017 08:46 PM

I have Kidde multipurpose units in the shop.
Some have been on a recent recall, and Kidde has been quite good on the follow-up.
Get the ones that will work with all types of fires.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View John Smith's profile (online now)

John Smith

283 posts in 34 days


#18 posted 12-17-2017 09:09 PM

yes, Kidde did have a recall on some of their extinguishers.
https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2017/kidde-recalls-fire-extinguishers-with-plastic-handles-due-to-failure-to-discharge-and
this means that a lot of the defective ones are turning up at yard sales, flea markets, craigslist, etc.
so purchase new from a reputable source.
Personally, I have the 5 pound Buckeye Purple K type in the shop and one in the home kitchen.

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7727 posts in 2785 days


#19 posted 12-18-2017 09:57 PM



...[snip]...
Get the ones that will work with all types of fires.
- Bill White

Well Bill… I am going to disagree with this last response… WHY? Because that ALSO means block all Oxygen to the fire, AKA humans TOO, so I think we need to temper that thought. NOT eliminate, though temperate… You basically want to get the Hell out of there and save your own life. Using a in-incapacitating extinguishing extinguisher may cost you your own life, just saying….

Point taken, we need to know AND understand the different KINDs of fires we may encounter in the woodshop. In THAT sense, there are never enough extinguishers available…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

3004 posts in 1860 days


#20 posted 12-19-2017 01:42 AM

I have a temperature alarm in my shop which looks at temperatures and rate or rise. It is hooked into my whole house monitored security system.

I also have fire extinguisher on each end of house and checked routinely.

While dust explosions in grain facilities, sugar plants and industrial setting. I have not heard or read of a dust explosion in a home shop or dust collector.

The danger most often discussed in shop is paint rags. All of mine are put outside and spread out.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

18162 posts in 3547 days


#21 posted 12-20-2017 08:51 AM

Having worked extensively in hazardous atmospheres during a previous life, I concluded it is rare for conditions to go critical causing an issue, but when they do it can be catastrophic!

In the 70s we were expected to connect gas pumps hot while the station was in operation. I saw lots of small fires that were normally extinguished by slapping them or putting a handful of dirt on them. Then, one very still day, no product spill, just an accumulation of fumes around a pump at a the station that had be shut down for a few days for remodeling, boom! A welder’s spark flashed of an accumulation of fumes. No damage, just an eye opener. Hey, this stuff really can happen.

I have seen big cabinet shops with hundreds of machines working; nothing explosion proof. Motor starters packed so full of sawdust they became inoperable. Dig all the hard packed dust out and everything went back to normal. The finishing department had a spray booth but they were finishing about 20 times what would fit in it. The finisher was spraying cabinets scattered around the warehouse in front of the spray booth. Somehow, they got away with it.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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Knockonit

216 posts in 73 days


#22 posted 12-20-2017 01:39 PM

I suppose any type of fire suppression system or tools would be good no matter what.

I have 10 lbers on all the work trucks, and at least one in each tool trailer along with trucks,
had a plumber burn a house down a few years ago, soldiered some hose bibs, and walked away without being sure nothing was gonna come of it. It was a rehab, so empty, but none the less, it was underway too far to do any damage with a extinguisher, they tried with hose, but again, away it went.

I’ve had all the foreman and most of the men go thru training classes, on first aide, fire/fall protection and general site safety, and i’m still amazed at the plethora of stupid they can come up with.
Rj in az

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sawdustdad

350 posts in 756 days


#23 posted 12-20-2017 01:58 PM

I have a good size CO2 fire extinguisher in the shop.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

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rwe2156

2749 posts in 1352 days


#24 posted 12-20-2017 02:05 PM

I think the risk of wood dust ignition is pretty low you don’t hear of many ww’ing shops catching fire.

I think the size is important. You should also have a water hose handy.

I think handling oily rags is an issue. I used to think it was on of those “one in a million” type things til my friends entire 4 car garage caught fire with 3 valuable antique cars inside which was traced to some oily rags in the bottom of a 55 gal drum.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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TopamaxSurvivor

18162 posts in 3547 days


#25 posted 12-20-2017 04:53 PM

With oily rags and hay baled too green, conditions are critical by definition.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

14953 posts in 2490 days


#26 posted 12-21-2017 09:36 PM

Don’t count on these in case of shop fire:

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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TopamaxSurvivor

18162 posts in 3547 days


#27 posted 12-22-2017 04:55 PM



Don t count on these in case of shop fire:

- SmittyCabinetshop


Don t count on these in case of shop fire:

- SmittyCabinetshop

Those definitely are at the top of the Snake Oil salesman’s product list.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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JrockLumber

1 post in 9 days


#28 posted 01-08-2018 09:53 PM

I just keep a 10lb model S-9874 in my roofing at all times. Its rechargeable so I don’t have to worry about by a new one every so often, its great.

-- Joey Rivers, http://www.rooferohio.com

View BattleRidge's profile

BattleRidge

5 posts in 87 days


#29 posted 01-08-2018 10:43 PM

I have been involved in the fire service since the late 1970’s (my only departure being for four years while in the Coast Guard & an additional six months while in the middle east during Desert Storm). I was a career firefighter & asst. fire chief and retired as fire chief a couple years ago.

My general recommendation is a dry chemical extinguisher with a rating of 1-A:10-B:C, or 2-A:10-B:C. They are affordable, easy to use and capable of handling many shop hazards. While dry chemical can cause some residual clean-up issues, any such concern should be secondary to being able to quickly extinguishing a fire. Additionally, any shop fire should be a rare event and good safety practices should help limit the chance of ever having one. There are larger extinguishers available, but without proper respiratory and eye protection, the atmosphere is going to be getting pretty nasty by the time you completely expel one.

A CO2 extinguisher isn’t rated for ordinary combustibles (wood/paper), but can be capable of extinguishing one if not deep seated – though it is best to quickly take action to assure the fire is completely extinguished and that there is no chance of a rekindle.

A water extinguisher is effective on ordinary combustibles, though can create dangerous issues when used on a fire involving combustible liquids and electricity.

One IMPORTANT consideration is the placement of your fire extinguisher. I highly recommend that a fire extinguisher be positioned adjacent to each exit door of your shop and left unobstructed. Should a fire develop in your shop, the NUMBER ONE priority is for everyone to quickly escape and to do everything possible to avoid injury or death. Once you are safely at the door, you can then make the determination whether the hazard is small enough and worth the risk of attempting to extinguish. You can then approach the fire while maintaining a clear path to escape behind you, empty the extinguisher and quickly return to safety. An extinguisher adjacent to a hazard area might seem like a good idea, but from a safety perspective, your first act should be to get away from the hazard area and to a point of safety where you can take a moment to better assess the situation. An exploding aerosol can and other unanticipated hazards can quickly wreak havoc with fire spread and life safety.

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AlaskaGuy

3781 posts in 2180 days


#30 posted 01-08-2018 11:01 PM

Class A: Fires with trash, wood, paper or other combustible materials as the fuel source.

Class B: Fires with flammable or combustible liquids as the fuel source.

Class C: Fires involving electrical equipment.

Lots of different activities can go on in a shop. My choice is an extinguisher rated as ABC. I keep one my the exit door and one on the far end where there is an window I could get out if I had too.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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TopamaxSurvivor

18162 posts in 3547 days


#31 posted 01-09-2018 12:42 AM

BattleRidge, good advise. Do you know of a source that shows the extent o expected damage by propane explosions from 5 gallon up to several hundred gallons?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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BattleRidge

5 posts in 87 days


#32 posted 01-09-2018 03:32 AM

There are many variables involved in a propane explosion and I have wiped most all of my fire service resource information from my laptop so don’t have a ready source available. I am sure that a search online could find much info (including YouTube videos, pictures and more).

Should a five gallon tank (or larger) become open in an enclosed building, once the proper mixture of oxygen and propane is reached, and depending on the amount of the building that is between the upper and lower explosive limits of the mixture, the addition of an ignition source would easily have the potential of structurally destroying the affected areas. The damage can be more pronounced when the building or contents ignites and the longer the fire burns, the more severe the damage will ultimately be.

Natural gas can have a quite similar effect with the main difference being that natural gas is lighter than air and can tend to accumulate upward, whereas propane is heavier than air and can tend to accumulate downward. In any regard, when between the upper and lower explosive limits (i.e. too rich or too lean to burn), the potential for disaster exists.

Oftentimes when arriving at the scene of a propane or gas leak, we will park our apparatus off of the corner of the building, as there is a greater chance of an explosion blowing the side of a building outward, than for the debris to come out from the corners.

It is always interesting showing up at an incident and finding the home’s front picture window laying in the middle of the street, as well as the distance that things can be blown. It can also be interesting in observing the ability of humans (and pets) to survive such a blast and while it can be violent, the outward pressure can be well distributed and thus not necessarily fatal to those in the building or area that explodes (we have found both people and pets alive in the aftermath), and it can easily be as dangerous outside the structure and being hit by flying debris.

Of course most of the above deals with gas that is free-flowing or that has somehow accumulated prior to ignition. In general, the safety features (relief valve, etc.) built into a propane tank will typically limit the potential for an actual tank explosion and will instead result in a controlled release of the fuel. While there may be a potential for intense flame, unless there is actual structural failure of the vessel itself (perhaps from the flame from one propane tank impinging on the side of another nearby tank thereby weakening it’s structural integrity, or some other type of other physical breaching of the container), there isn’t a high likelihood of a tank actually exploding. Still though, when things start going wrong (or you suspect something is going wrong), it is always best to turn tail and get far, far away quickly, taking anybody else in the area with you. Believe me, any big boom is much better to watch from a distance than up close.

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TopamaxSurvivor

18162 posts in 3547 days


#33 posted 01-09-2018 05:58 AM

Thanks, very interesting. My main concern is a few hundred gallons released during 8 or 9 earthquake since there is nothing to stop the tanks from breaking lose and the pipe connection opening in an area that can trap the propane on the ground due to prevailing winds and landscape design. Fire is the number one secondary issue in EQ, so ignition is likely. There is a 6 foot concrete wall within 10 feet of the tank sitting on top the ground without benefit of embedded foundation or footing. Peak horizontal and vertical ground accelerations are predicted to be 1.6 g by USGS; plenty of hp to toss both the wall and tank around. I opinion is this is a high very risk installation. Do you agree?

BTW, I have searched the web extensively but have found little that really addresses a situation of this nature. I am assuming most people know better than to do it his way so it is not an issue.

I doubt that most WWs know propane is heavier than air and will accumulate in any low spots.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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BattleRidge

5 posts in 87 days


#34 posted 01-12-2018 12:03 AM

I don’t have much direct experience or knowledge in the earthquake perspective, though our house here gave an audible creak a few months ago when there was a small one in our area.

There is likely a local governmental agency in your area that could provide some type of guidance or refer you to the proper code sections to dig deeper. Ideally it would seem that some type of break-away / quick close valve in conjunction with adequate anchoring of the tank would be wise. In lieu of this and in the event of an earthquake, evacuating the area until safety is assured could be a good idea. Hopefully there would be some type of relatively safer space to scamper to.

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

14953 posts in 2490 days


#35 posted 01-12-2018 12:21 AM

Surviving an 8 or 9 earthquake is the plan? Can’t fathom what wouldn’t be destroyed, including the shop.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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BB1

932 posts in 719 days


#36 posted 01-12-2018 02:32 AM

The Wood Whisperer posted this information on FB recently about some recalled units
https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2017/kidde-recalls-fire-extinguishers-with-plastic-handles-due-to-failure-to-discharge-and

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TopamaxSurvivor

18162 posts in 3547 days


#37 posted 01-12-2018 03:35 AM


I don’t have much direct experience or knowledge in the earthquake perspective, though our house here gave an audible creak a few months ago when there was a small one in our area.

There is likely a local governmental agency in your area that could provide some type of guidance or refer you to the proper code sections to dig deeper. Ideally it would seem that some type of break-away / quick close valve in conjunction with adequate anchoring of the tank would be wise. In lieu of this and in the event of an earthquake, evacuating the area until safety is assured could be a good idea. Hopefully there would be some type of relatively safer space to scamper to.

- BattleRidge

Thank you for your response. I was hoping you might know of a source of propane data for fires and explosions in open areas. I did find this but it is 18,000 gallons not a few hundred. http://www.aristatek.com/newsletter/0901January/TechSpeak.aspx

I am starting a campaign to get local authorities to adopt the basic industry safety rules in addition to the code. They claim the measurements and clearances in the code are all they can enforce. Things like placing a tank where leaks can accumulate in the crawl space under a house or other low area or area as I described are not covered. The industry rules say not to store heavy objects near tanks. A 35 ton concrete wall standing on top the ground adjacent to 1,000 gallon tank is ok here. Industry standards say to use common sense and contact local authorities. I would expect that advice to be complementary, not mutually exclusive.

To deny anything can affect us negatively and ignore common sense is a natural human response by most. This year is the 100th anniversary of the flu pandemic. It started in a relatively isolated area of Kansas. With strong, healthy young men in their 20s dying in a week you would think they would have quarantined the area and contained it. The reaction was the normal human response. The cost was 50 to 100 million lives world wide; about 4% of the world population at that time. We see Houston without any drainage flooding and San Jose with houses 10 feet apart feeding an suburban wildfire. All quite predictable as is the pending disaster here that will be significantly enhanced by official ignorance and denial.

WA does not require any special earthquake strapping or other precaution. The local fire marshal told me it is not in the national code when I asked why not. Local paper and TV have reported WA to be last in earthquake preparedness as we are overdue for the biggest ever recorded on modern equipment. It is year 318 in the cycle that has never been longer that 320 in the last 10,000 years.

Anyone heating with propane should be aware it can accumulate in low area and stay in areas without sufficient air movement to move and dissipate it. I have seen that on a calm day in an open area with gasoline also heavier than air. That was just fumes, no spilled product. The U of Victoria blast wave data says it has 2x the power of TNT by volume.


Surviving an 8 or 9 earthquake is the plan? Can t fathom what wouldn t be destroyed, including the shop.

- Smitty_Cabinetshop

That is the plan ;-)

In 1971 a 6.8 in San Bernardino tossed a fire engine 3 feet into the air. 9 will have over 1,000 times the energy. It will be an interesting 4 or 5 minutes when the shaking starts.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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AlaskaGuy

3781 posts in 2180 days


#38 posted 01-12-2018 05:04 AM

That is the plan ;-)

In 1971 a 6.8 in San Bernardino tossed a fire engine 3 feet into the air. 9 will have over 1,000 times the energy. It will be an interesting 4 or 5 minutes when the shaking starts.

- TopamaxSurvivor
For 9 point earthquake I think you’d be better off with several rolls of toilet paper than a fire a extinguisher

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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TopamaxSurvivor

18162 posts in 3547 days


#39 posted 01-12-2018 05:11 AM


For 9 point earthquake I think you d be better off with several rolls of toilet paper than a fire a extinguisher

- AlaskaGuy

I am sure you are correct. The 20 seconds of the 6.8 Nisqually was plenty. Were you there in AK in 1964 for the 9.2?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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