Cylinders are an extremely common factor at agricultural incidents. They can be extremely dangerous if a fire occurs.
Why is it important to store cylinders correctly?
If cylinders are not stored appropriately, or unused cylinders are stored unnecessarily, it can be dangerous. When heated, cylinders explode, can fragment or behave like a rocket – and walls are not adequate protection when a cylinder explodes.
Firefighters have been killed and injured by cylinders involved in fires. Consequently, firefighters will adopt a defensive approach if they know or suspect cylinders are involved. This means they may not be able to protect your property due to the extreme danger to life.
How should I store and manage cylinders on my farm?
- Identify and keep a record of the location of all cylinders on your farm.
- Limit the number of cylinders kept.
- Store cylinders on their own, outside in a cage or similar locked store, with a sign indicating their presence.
- Erect signs outside buildings to alert firefighters to the presence of cyclinders.
Any unneeded acetylene cylinders should be removed immediately and taken back to the supplier. Acetylene cylinders will result in major disruption and huge financial implications if involved in a fire.
Review your work and decide whether you need to use it, as there are alternatives, such as oxy-propane are petro-gen that are much safer to use.
If a fire does occur, provide the fire officer with as much information as possible about the types and locations of cylinders on your farm.
What are the risks & dangers of acetylene cylinders?
- They are particularly dangerous as the contents decompose when heated and the explosion can be catastrophic.
- Some explode, while others fragment, so they are unpredictable and highly dangerous.
- The process may not be stopped by simply cooling the cylinder with water.
- As a result, a 200-metre area will be evacuated around the fire for a 24-hour period, and firefighting may cease if deemed unsafe.
- An owner may be liable for compensating anyone affected by this, due to the fire safety law.
- The implications if you live near a mainline railway or major road etc. could be devastating.