Proud to Protect Canada – Episode 4: Flash Fire Hazards

As Tyndale extends our managed arc-rated and flame resistant (AR / FR) clothing programs into Canada, we invite you to follow along in our Proud to Protect Canada series. While many of the topics in this series contain Canadian-specific content, there are some topics that are relevant on both sides of the border – like this one. We hope you enjoy “meeting” our Canada Team, exploring engaging and relevant content, while learning about our unique solution and the benefits it provides to companies and wearers alike.

In previous episodes of our Proud to Protect Canada Series, we learned about arc flash hazards and CSA Z462, the Canadian safety standard that governs arc flash. In this episode, we’ll turn our attention to another extremely dangerous type of thermal hazard: flash fire. This type of hazard is present in environments where the vapors of an ignitable liquid are present. Therefore, workers in oil and gas or chemical industries need to take every precaution to protect themselves from severe burns caused by flash fires. Workers in certain manufacturing industries are also at risk, as combustible dust in their facilities can also act as fuel for a flash fire.

So, what exactly is a flash fire? Tyndale’s Canada Sales Director, Paul Castelli, and VP of Technical, Scott Margolin, explain how flash fires occur and how they differ from regular fires:

What is a flash fire?

Flash fires differ from other fires because the fuel is diffused in the air rather than concentrated as a combustible solid or liquid. As Scott explains, a flash fire is, by definition, a diffuse fuel suspended in air, an ignition source, and a flame front that moves rapidly through that diffuse fuel cloud, eating up all the fuel as it goes. Since the flame front moves so rapidly to consume the airborne fuel, flash fires are momentary by nature, typically only lasting three seconds or less. This is not the case with other types of fires, which will continue to burn as long as there is a fuel source to feed it or someone or something extinguishes it.

How do you protect against flash-fire injuries?

Because flash fires have such a brief duration, wearing flame resistant (FR) clothing dramatically reduces the chances of suffering fatal or devastating flash fire burn injuries. Non-FR “everyday” clothing is essentially fuel and continues to burn well beyond the three seconds of the initial flash fire, resulting in significant burn injuries. FR clothing does not act as fuel; it won’t ignite and continue to burn and is key to preventing severe burn injuries. It is secondary personal protective apparel that can mean the difference between life and death in the event of a flash fire.   

Want to learn more about the industry safety standards used to test FR clothing?

Stay tuned for the next episode in this series which explains the Canadian standard governing flash fire, CGSB 155.20, and its US counterpart, NFPA 2112. Visit our series hub to read episode summaries and catch up on all topics in the series.

Have an arc flash hazard? Check out Episode 2: Arc Flash Hazards.



Series: Proud to Protect Canada

Follow along with this series to explore our educational resources for companies and workers based in Canada. You’ll meet the technical and market experts from our Canada team and find everything from the basics on the hazards, to PPE and labeling requirements, a closer look at key safety standards and the hierarchy of standards and regulations in Canada, employer responsibilities under the Canadian Labour Code, and more.

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