Canadian Biomass Magazine

Handbook offers silo fire strategies

July 18, 2013
By Scott Jamieson

July 18, 2013, Simcoe, ON - The English version of a Swedish handbook on silo fires is available, and provides detailed strategies for safely fighting tricky silo fires. 

Silo Fires: Fire Extinguishing, Preventative and Prepatory Measures
is penned by Henry Persson and published by the Swedish Civil
Contingencies Agencies (MSB). The drafting of the document has been
under way for the last three years and is the most up to date document
so far on safety relating to silo storage of pellets according to Staffan Melin, research director at the Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC). The text contains
substantial contributions from and references to research done at
the University of British Columbia and WPAC. The book covers a variety of
areas, including:

  • Measures in the event of a silo fire
  • Firefighting method for silo fires
  • Workflow when inerting a silo
  • Personal safety
  • Formation of carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Risks of using nitrogen gas and carbon dioxide as extinguishing agents
  • Dust and gas explosions
  • Alternate firefighting tactics
  • Extinguishing with foam
  • Injecting water
  • Risks associated with opening a silo
  • Environmental aspects
  • Silo fire scenarios
  • Spontaneous ignition
  • External ignition source
  • General information about silo types and silo storage
  • Silo types
  • Silo content and fill level
  • Preventive and preparatory measures
  • Risk assessment in accordance with AFS 2003:3
  • Preparations for fire extinguishing and discharge of silos
  • Preparations at the silo top
  • Functional testing of the gas distribution system
  • Preparations for using alternative extinguishing methods
  • Mobile gas equipment

The full document can be downloaded here. Also see Henry Persson's recent article in Canadian Biomass on responding to silo fires.

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