Newbie from Texas-Combustible Dust Related Incidents
Howdy, I'm new to the forum and seeking information on combustible dust related fires and explosions. Since the Dixie Crystal sugar refinery explosion last month there has been approximately 20 combustible dust related explosions and fires.
Since that event, I've put together a web site on Combustible Dust Explosions and Fires with a Google Map with locations of incidents. With limited resources in a Google Search, I'm not able to locate all incidents. Any input would help from around the country.
I'm also interested in whether fire crews are aware that in the course of their duties in fighting commercial structural fires that combustible dusts might be present, which poses a potential deflagration/explosion hazard with the resulting potentially explosive atmosphere just like flammable liquids.. Many workplaces are not aware of the seemingly harmless nature of combustible particulate solids that generate combustible dusts during the manufacturing and handling process.
Currently there are no mandatory OSHA combustible dust standard for general industry as there is a grain facility combustible standard implemented in 1987. So many facilities are at risk . The House Committee of Education and Labor recently held a hearing on the potential passage of "The Combustible Dust Fire and Explosion Prevention Act of 2008", in response to the Imperial Sugar refinery explosion and many other preventable incidents in the past.
Hopefully in joining this forum I can acquire additional information on how prevalent combustilbe dust explosions and fires are occurring from firefighting professionals who are out in the field on a daily basis. Through this interaction I'd like to add additional content on the Combustible Dust Explosion and Fire website in educating and informing the public and hopefully prevent future fatalities, injuries, and devastating economic impact.
Thanks for your time and I hope to hear from you.
Prevention of combustible dust explosions and fires
Number #1: Cleaning, continue cleaning and more cleaning. Air Filtration system added to collect airborne dust will help! Point of dust creation vacuum collection equipment should be added. Cleaning up dusty environments is costly; manpower and equipment. This issue effects the bottom line of every company. This issue is usually one of the first areas to cut during budget cycles.
Prevention is the key word. We work with a number of coal fire generating station providing emergency response training. I have been the coal fired power busines for 27 years. I have seen the run of the gamit from facilities you can eat of the floors and structural supports to facilities that have to use bobcats to move coal piles inside building.
Most of these facilities have been lucky and have not had a "come to jesus" meeting with a dust explosion and fire. It is not a matter of if it could happen, it's when will it happen! The planets, stars and sun all have to align to have an explosion and fire.
I am working on gathering fire fighting techniques that can be used during the incident, stopping the incident from having secondary explosions. So far there is very little written on the firefighting side of this issue.
I am working with John Astad from the Combustible Dust Policy Institute. he has given me som valuable websites to look at. Most of the info so far is written about the incident and the Root Cause Analysis.
We are also working some people from Luminat Energy in Texas. I'll pass on my info.