Chemical Fire | NFPA Diamond | Petrochemicals | MSDS


Affter reading this lession and topic completion , you will be able to:

  1. Define chemicals, petro-chemicals and Petroleum Products.Chemical Fire
  2. Elaborate the term “Material Safety Data Sheet”.
  3. Describe the components of Material Safety Data Sheet.
  4. Define Reactive Chemicals and Water Reactive Chemicals.
  5. Describe the definition and importance of Labeling.
  6. Draw the NFPA Diamond & Describe the importance and use of NFPA Diamond.

Chemical Fire explosion safety and Techniques

  1. Chemicals:

In chemistry, a chemical substance is a form of matter that has constant chemical composition and characteristic properties. It cannot be separated into its components by physical separation methods, i.e. without breaking chemical j bonds.

 The term ‘Chemical Substance’ means any organic or inorganic substance of a particular molecular identity, including any combination of such substances occurring in whole or in part as a result of a chemical reaction or occurring in nature.

Examples of chemicals:

Examples of chemicals are…………..

Find them yourself………………….

1.1 Petrochemicals:

 A sub- class of chemicals that are derived from petroleum or natural gas are known as petrochemicals.

Petrochemicals include ethylene, propylene, butadiene, benzene, toluene, xylene, and naphthalene. Which are used as raw material in manufacturing of various products. Plastics , soaps.          detergents, drugs, fertilizers, pesticides rubbers, paints, epoxies etc are all petrochemicals.

Petrochemicals are made or recovered from the entire range of petroleum fractions, but the bulk of petrochemical products are formed from the lighter (C1-C4) hydrocarbon gases as raw materials. The Chemical Fire of Petrochemicals very dangerous one. 

See also  Fire Chemistry in Fire Fighting

1.2 Petroleum Products:

The crude oil is processed to obtain various petroleum products.

Examples of petroleum products are Diesel, Petrol, Mobil oil, Engine oil, 2 stroke and 4 stroke engine oil, Kerosene oil etc.

2. Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).

It is generally known as material safety data sheet (MSDS).

  • It is a sheet which contains all the basic information such as physical and chemical properties, extinguishing medium, precautions etc. about the chemicals.
  • MSDS must be provided with all the chemicals and must be present at all chemical storage, handling and manufacturing places etc.
  • Fire fighters must obtain this document from concerned persons before starting fire fighting.
  • Water must not be used on chemical, petro chemical and petroleum products fire.
  • MSDS must be pasted at prominent places in all the working facilities.
  1. Components of MSDS:

The following are the components of MSDS.

  • Name of Chemicals.
  • Physical Properties of Chemicals.
  • Chemicals Properties of Chemical.
  • Precautions of Chemicals.
  • Temperature of Reaction.
  • Extinguishing Medians.
  1. Reactive Chemicals:

Those substances which can’ in contact with air- water  other common substances, vigorously or violently give off heat, energy or toxic gases or vapors.

4.1 Water Reactive Chemicals:

Are those chemical which can react violently or vigorously with water, wet surfaces, or even the moisture in the air resulting in release of flammable gas (such as hydrogen) or toxic gas, (such as phosgene) or release energy or spontaneously burn or explode.

  • Phosgene and Phosphene are both toxic gases which are produced by water reactive Chemicals. The chemical formula of phosgene Gas is COCL2 and of Phosphene Gas is PH3.
  • Examples of water reactive chemicals are Alkali Metals like Sodium, Magnesium, and Potassium etc.
  • Carbides, hydrides and phosphates are also water reactive in nature.
  1. Labels or Labeling:

  • Labels are short messages in form of signs, symbols or
  • They describe and elaborate important characteristics of the materials.
See also  Fire Fighting Foam and Foam Making Equipment

Labels may include information about:

  • Flammability
  • Toxicity
  • Handling & Storage Instructions.
  • Date of manufacturing / Expiry, i Precautions.
  • Chemical formulas.
  • Signs
  • Symbols etc.

5.1 Different Types of Labels:

All hazmat shipping labels

NFPA  Diamond:

NFPA Diamond designed & developed by NFPA and used extensively by fire/ rescue personnel to assess the hazards posed by the chemical to be tested using the NFPA Diamond. This tools is very important to be considered in Chemical Fire fighting

  • NFPA diamond provides information about health hazards, flammability, reactivity and any other hazards posed by the chemicals.
  • NFPA Diamond is used to assess the hazards posed by various chemicals and to safe guard against them by using all the safety precautions & PPE required to handle the relevant chemical.
  • NFPA Diamond has color coding for different types of hazards and a scale ranging from 0 to 4 to mark or classify the level of hazards posed by the chemicals.

6.1 NFPA Diamond (Diagram):

NFPA Diamond

NFPA Diamond – used by fire / rescue personnel


NFPA diamond uses a scale from 0-4 to classify the hazards posed by various chemicals. For example, 0-4 scale of a chemical may have these valves for health hazards.

  • 4 – Too dangerous to enter vapor or liquid.
  • 3- Extremely dangerous, use full PPE.
  • 2- Hazardous – use breathing apparatus.
  • 1-Slightly hazardous.
  • Like ordinary material or no hazard.

The Chemical Fire is most dangerous and only be extinguishe with real and professional fire frighting skills.

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