Flammable liquids fall under the class of fires known as Class B. This class includes flammable liquids such as gasoline and gases like propane.
Class B is one of five designated by the National Fire Protection Association and how they differ depends on what is fueling the fire.
- Class A fires are fueled by common combustibles like wood and paper.
- Class C fires involve energized electrical equipment such as motors and appliances.
- Class D fires occur in combustible metals like magnesium and titanium.
- Class K fires are fueled by cooking oils and greases.
Below we’ll go over some common flammable liquids that fuel Class B fires, and why understanding this flammable liquids classification matters when it comes to implementing safety procedures in your work facility.
What Flammable Liquids Fuel Class B Fires?
Common flammable liquids that can cause Class B fires include:
- Petroleum greases
- Oil-based paints
Some flammable gases, such as propane, natural gas and butane, also fall under the Class B fires classification.
While cooking oils and grease are in liquid form, these do not fall under Class B fires. They instead fall under Class K, since they require a different individual or combination of extinguishing agents.
How Are Class B Fires Extinguished?
While there are several types of fire extinguishers available, putting out Class B fires must be done with a Class B fire extinguisher. This is important, because some types of extinguishers are not designed to put out Class B fires and can actually further fuel the fire.
Other methods used to extinguish fires generally do not work against Class B fires. For example, while Class A fires simply require water, using water on a Class B is ineffective.
Class B fire extinguishers contain dry chemicals in a foam or powder form. These include chemicals like ammonium phosphate and halogenated agents. When applied to the fire, the dry powder will cut off the fire’s oxygen supply.
How Can Class B Fires Be Prevented?
Simple procedures put into place at your facility can help prevent a Class B fire from occurring. These safety procedures should cover both the storage and disposal of the flammable liquids you use on your property.
Storage of Flammable Liquids
To avoid Class B fires, flammable liquids must be safely stored according to hazardous waste guidelines. Under state and federal laws, improper storage can lead to costly fines.
The following safety protocols should be prioritized as part of everyday operations:
- Never block stairwells or exits with containers filled with flammable liquids.
- Store flammable liquids in safe, secure locations in the appropriate containers and fire-proof storage cabinets.
- Properly label each container. Labels should include information like:
- Start date of accumulation
- Type of liquid
- Hazard Class 3 flammable logo
- Your company’s information in case of an emergency
Additional information that should be included on flammable liquid storage containers may be determined by local and state authorities. Be sure to label the container as soon as the waste is placed inside.
Disposal Of Flammable Liquids
Disposing of flammable liquids improperly can lead to substantial fines for your business, not to mention poor public perception should a fire occur. Proper disposal of your flammable liquids is an essential component in ensuring they do not fuel a Class B fire.
Working with an experienced waste management company to regularly remove any flammable liquids you no longer need, such as spent solvents, can help ensure your safety protocols are in top shape. The best waste management companies will also work with you to ensure these Class B agents are stored in the correct containers, properly labeled, and safely stored while awaiting disposal.
Choosing a waste management company shouldn’t be your final decision when it comes to the disposal of your flammable liquids, however. Where you choose to send your flammable liquids also plays an important part in your overall waste management plan.
If your flammable liquids include spent solvents, Temarry Recycling offers a solvent distillation process that is part of a Closed Loop Recycling system. This environmentally-friendly, state-of-the art process ensures nothing is wasted … enhancing your sustainability as a company.
First, a waste to energy process converts high BTU organic solids to steam to be used as energy on site.
A solvent distillation unit then uses the steam from the waste to energy process as energy to power the solvent recovery stills. Spent solvents are re-manufactured and sold back into industry for their original solvent properties.
A water treatment process extracts usable water from industrial hazardous wastes. This treated water is used on-site for industrial needs, including the waste to energy equipment and a cooling tower.
Combined, these processes keep materials at their highest utility and value always.
Safety Is A Priority
Knowing which class of fires your flammable liquids fall under is essential to knowing how to combat them should an accident occur. Class B fires require specific extinguishing agents to properly put out any flames.
But that’s not where your commitment to safety should end. Choosing a company that accepts your flammable liquid waste and is committed to the highest standards of accountability and environmental responsibility will help ensure your waste storage and disposal plan is sound from top to bottom.