Flash fire injuries can be very severe and cause serious burns, respiratory problems, and other complications. To get through a flash fire safely, all controls and protection must be in place before the fire begins. This article will detail how to reduce the severity of a flash fire and what to do if an injury is sustained.
What Is a Flash Fire?
A flash fire is a fire that ignites and spreads quickly at a high temperature but only lasts for a short duration. The best way to prevent flash fire burns is to keep workers away from flammable areas. It also helps to provide them with personal protective equipment (PPE) that reduces the severity of flash fire injuries.
PPE Protection for Flash Fires
PPE provides a last line of defense against flash fires. It can’t prevent fires from happening, but it can reduce the severity of the injuries caused by them.
NFPA Code 2112 outlines the criteria for testing and certifying garments suitable for flash fire protection. ASTM’s F2700 testing evaluates textile performance against the kind of heat transfer you would see in a flash fire. Heat transfer performance is determined by exposing the material to a 2 cal/second flame while a sensor on the other side records how much heat passes through the materials. The test is terminated when enough heat has passed through to cause a second-degree burn. All fabrics used in flame-resistant apparel need to have a minimum “Heat Transfer Performance” (HTP) rating of over 6.0 cal/cm2 and a “contact” HTP rating of not less than 3.0 cal/cm2.
How to Reduce the Severity of a Flash Fire Injury
How to Reduce the Severity of a Flash Fire injury
Remove the person from the source of the fire: Get them to a safe location away from the flames and smoke.
Stop the burning: If the person’s clothing is on fire, use a fire blanket, towel, or extinguisher to smother the flames. Have the person stop, drop, and roll on the ground to extinguish the flames.
Cool the affected area: Immediately cool the burn area with cool water or a cold compress for 10-15 minutes to reduce pain, swelling, and further tissue damage.
Remove any restrictive clothing or jewelry: If clothing or jewelry restricts the burn area, remove it as soon as possible. However, do not remove clothing or jewelry stuck to the burn.
Cover the burn area: Cover the burn area with a sterile, non-adhesive dressing to protect the area from infection and further damage.
Seek medical attention: Seek medical attention immediately if the burn is large, deep, affects sensitive areas, or if the person is experiencing any symptoms of shock or difficulty breathing.
Remember, flash fire injuries can be very serious and should be treated by a medical professional as soon as possible. Do not attempt to treat severe burns on your own, as this can lead to further damage or complications. Every effort must be made to avoid a flash fire incident, and PPE can help reduce the severity of any injuries. For protective gear that meets the standards of NFPA Code 2112, look to Extreme Safety. We provide all the PPE you need for your job sites and to protect against things like flash fires. Call us at (310) 856-0166 or click here to learn more about our equipment.