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If subjected to sustained heat from a fire, a cylinder may in some circumstances rupture with explosive force. If it contains fuel gas or oxygen it will cause the fire to burn more ferociously and may cause it to spread.
The force from a cylinder rupture may create flying debris which could cause damage to property and injury to personnel.
Your Emergency Plan, established as part of your Regulatory Reform Order (Fire Safety) responsibilities, should take these hazards and risks into account as part of the risk assessment. Therefore in the event of an incident you should follow your established plan.
If a gas cylinder is directly involved in a fire
- evacuate the area to a minimum of 200 metres from the cylinder
- call the fire service
- advise neighbours within the 200-metre hazard zone area about the danger
- inform BOC: call the Customer Service Centre on 0800 111 333
- cylinders which are not directly involved in the fire and have not become heated should be moved as quickly as possible to a safe place, provided this can be done without risk to personnel. Make sure the cylinder valves are closed
- when the fire service arrives, explain the location and number of gas cylinders directly involved in the fire and the names of the gases they contain. The fire service cannot enter your premises to deal with the situation without this information
When the fire has been extinguished
NEVER move or use cylinders that have been exposed to a fire until the fire service or BOC has declared it safe to do so.
Dissolved acetylene (DA) cylinders
- once the fire has been extinguished, dissolved acetylene cylinders which have been involved in the fire need to be cooled for a total of 24 hours
- the fire service will impose a cordon while the cylinder is cooled
- ensure nobody tampers or interferes with the DA cylinder during this period. The fire service will inform you when it is safe to handle the cylinder
- BOC will arrange for the collection of the DA cylinder after the 24-hour cooling period
This information is provided as a general outline and is not intended to be a definitive statement on the subject matter.
Professional advice should be sought before any action is taken in relation to safety in the workplace.