Is it getting Hot here?
Summers around the corner and all the summer fun to go along with it. Long days, warm weather, and careless afternoons. Stop and look around you though while you’re enjoying your BBQ’s, swimming, camping, boating, fishing, baseball. All the fun things outdoors can come to a screeching halt without warning. What should you be looking at? Well, did you ever stop to see those items which are combustible or flammable!
Before we can look at the multitude of items that maybe combustible or flammable, I probably should explain what a combustible or flammable is.
Item’s that catch on fire or explode is the simplest way to state it. However, there is a technical part to understand these products. First we need to define several terms associated with flammables and combustibles, the first is the term: Flash Point Temperature.
The flash point of a volatile material is the lowest temperature at which vapors of the material will ignite, when given an ignition source.
The flash point may sometimes be confused with the auto ignition temperature, which is the temperature at which the vapor ignites spontaneously without an ignition source. The fire point is the lowest temperature at which vapors of the material will keep burning after being ignited and the ignition source removed. The fire point is higher than the flash point, because at the flash point more vapors may not be produced rapidly enough to sustain combustion. Neither flash point nor fire point depends directly on the ignition source temperature, but it may be understood that ignition source temperature will be considerably higher than either the flash or fire point.
I know a little too technical, right? But it’s important to understand.
Now back to summer fun, while most products that we use in the summer maybe dangerous; most of the time there is not a significant problem. We seem to only hear about an issue from the media when it’s a problem. So what items am I talking about?
Hand Sanitizer, Propane, BBQ briquettes, lighter fluid, matches or a lighter, nail polish, nail polish remover (acetone) sunscreen, Baby oil, Hand wipes (non alcohol), Zog’s Sex wax (for those surfers), the sun, sun glasses cleaning solutions, adult beverages, gasoline, Cell phones, Video cameras, Digital cameras, pool chemicals, swimming pools, spas, baseballs, bats, slip and slides ….. I think I got a little carried away!
Or did I? Combustibles are defined by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) when talking about liquids as having a flash point temperature above 140 degrees Fahrenheit (F) and a flammable liquid having a flash point temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit (F) or lower.
Fire needs 3 things: 1. Fuel (something to burn) 2. Oxygen (to keep the fire going) 3. Ignition source (heat).
Let’s go back to are summer fun list and look at the approximate temperature of when some of these products could catch fire. Keep in mind that the manufacture determined this information using scientific tests in a controlled environment that does not always translate to a warm summer day.
Gasoline (-40 degrees F)
Hand Sanitizer (74 Degrees F)
Nail Polish (24 degrees F)
Nail Polish remover (acetone) (33 degrees F)
Propane (-155 degrees F)
BBQ briquettes (Auto ignition Temperature between 795-1000 degrees F)
Lighter fluid (39 degrees F) (Auto ignition Temperature 446 Degrees F)
Baby Oil (no ignition temperature listed)
Hand wipes (non alcohol) (no ignition temperature listed)
Sun glasses cleaning solution (124 Degrees F) (most likely it will not because it is aqueous)
Adult beverages (varies around 55 Degrees F)
Pool chemicals (liquid chlorine 142 Degrees F)
Cell phones, Video cameras, Digital cameras (varies, keep them out of the direct sunlight)
While the other items listed may not have a flammability concern there is a safety concern. The last thing we want is for a loved one, friend or co-worker to get hurt… it will ruin a great summer day! I’ll bet you never considered the danger lurking around you.
To be safe your best bet is to consult with experts that will help you identify common problems and make suggestions for change before it's too late. C & A Safety Consultants has over 30 years experience in working with business, government agencies, schools, churches, youth groups, camps (day and sleep away). Group CPR and safety classes are available too.
C & A Safety Consultants is located in Southern California. C & A Safety can be reached at:
CNASAFETY1@gmail.com or by telephone: 805-750-0915