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Flammable and Combustible Liquids
by Environmental, Health and Safety Services
Note: On the NFPA diamond label, a fire hazard rating of 3 or 4 denotes a flammable liquid.
Note: The flash point is the lowest temperature at which a liquid gives off enough vapor to form a flammable mixture with air.
The vapors of flammable liquids often present the most serious hazard.
The vapors can easily ignite or explode.
Flammable liquid vapors are heavier than air and may settle in low spots, or move a significant distance from the liquid itself.
Above the Upper Explosive Limit, the mixture is too rich to burn
UPPER EXPLOSIVE LIMIT
LOWER EXPLOSIVE LIMIT
Below the Lower Explosive Limit, the mixture is too lean to burn
This is important to know because the quantity of flammable/combustible liquids that can be stored in any one location is determined by the class of the liquid.
Note: Check your Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) sheet for the characteristics or classification of a particular liquid.
Contact the EHSS Fire Safety Engineer at 231-9198 for assistance, if necessary.
Use flammable liquid storage cabinets where greater quantities of liquids are needed.
Contrary to popular belief, these cabinets are not designed to contain a fire, but to prevent an outside fire from reaching the contents for a period of 10 minutes – enough time to evacuate the area.
Limitations on Storage
The maximum storage of flammables and combustibles in any one area under the Virginia Fire Prevention Code is 60 gallons of flammables and 120 gallons of combustibles.
These quantities must be in an approved storage area, i.e. a flammables cabinet or other acceptable means.
Containers should be tightly sealed when not in use.
Approved safety cans are recommended for smaller quantities.
The spring-loaded safety cap prevents spillage, prevents vapors from escaping, acts as a pressure vent if engulfed in fire, prevents explosions and rocketing of the can!
Ex. Butane and Propane
Careless mistakes and safety shortcuts lead to serious problems when it comes to flammable liquids.
Respect flammable liquids and their dangers - their hazards are deadly…