Certain gases, liquids and solids are highly flammable and should be stored carefully to avoid fire break outs. It is because of their high risk potential that regulatory measures have been put in place in order to protect those who handle them. Businesses and homes that use flammable substances are required to use flammable storage cabinets in order to protect employees, homes and the workstations in general.
Flammable storage cabinets are made from flame proof materials which is a safety measure in case of any explosion or fire caused by flammable substances. In order to appreciate the use of flammable storage cabinets, it is important to know and understand various flammable substances that should be stored within them.
Flammable gases include propane, natural gas, acetylene, ammonia, methane, carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulphide. These gases easily burn in the presence of oxygen and when in contact with a fire source. Usually, gases are stored in sealed containers, but sometimes, small leakages can occur which can easily form an ignition when conditions are favorable. If that happens, the result is always explosion and fire that can cause extensive destructions including injuries and fatalities in some cases.
Escaping flammable gases poses less danger in working areas that has good ventilation or are situated in open spaces. In closed spaces, leakages pose high risks and this is why these fuel gases are usually given a particular stench to enable the users identify any leakages easily.
A flammable liquid is a liquid that has a flash point that is below 100oF (37.8oC). Combustible liquids have flash points of between 100oF (37.8oC) and 200oF (903.3oC). A flash point is the minimum temperature at which a material releases enough vapor to start burning. This means that flammable and combustibles ignite at certain temperatures depending on their flash points. Common flammable liquids include petrol, diesel, alcohol, gasoline, kerosene, paints and jet fuel among others.
Flammable and combustible liquids are dangerous in case they spill out and come in contact with fire or when exposed to high temperatures. To avoid any hazard, it is required that you check the flashpoints of all the liquids in your facility and store them in their respective flammable liquid storage cabinets.
Flammable solids are solids that are explosive, self-reactive or readily combustible. These solids are highly dangerous and it is advisable to be cautious when handling them. Flammable metals like potassium, lithium and sodium and flammable metal compounds like diethyl zinc and butyl lithium can cause fierce fires that cannot be extinguished by water and carbon dioxide fire extinguishers.
Aluminum is a commonly used metal is potentially flammable when heated to high temperatures or powdered into small particles. Photographic films and negatives are made from cellulose nitrate which is a material that easily catches fire and combust spontaneously when degraded. Apart from being used to create explosives, Picrate salt is also a component used in the manufacture of dyes hence found in many laboratories. It is a highly flammable solid that not only react to heat, but friction and shock as well.
The fact is that flammable solids cause fierce fires that are always difficult to quench and should be handled with great care and stored in flammable solid storage cabinets.
Some chemicals are highly explosive when in contact with heat, shock or friction. Given that such chemicals are mostly used in the manufacture of other materials in the manufacturing industry, they are not only needed to be stored in flammable cabinets but also transported in the safest way possible. Such compounds include oxonides, haloamines, acetylides, nitoso and azides. They can occur naturally or manufactured and one should be very careful with old chemical stocks because explosive compounds become more dangerous with time as they degrade.
Oxidizing chemicals include bleaches, concentrated acids, chlorates, nitrates and peroxides. These chemicals release oxygen at room temperatures and when slightly exposed to heat. They can also cause combustion when in contact with other chemicals. Given that they evolve oxygen, they can accelerate fires, making them huge leading to extensive destruction of property. To avoid this, they are best stored separately in secure flammable storage cabinets.
All flammable materials (liquids, solids, gases and chemicals) should be stored in store in approved flammable storage cabinets when they are not in use. To know if a material or compound is flammable, try looking at the labels to check for ratings, flashpoints and any other indication that indicates so. It is also important not to overfill the cabinets, stack containers containing flammables and store inappropriate materials in the flammable storage cabinets. For instance, do not mix non-flammables with flammables in the same cabinet or use containers that have been used for something else.
Flammables and combustibles are dangerous compounds, but it is not possible to avoid using them. For this reason, it is best to store them where they belong – in flammable storage cabinets!