It is not possible to cover every situation which might arise. The first aim must be to protect persons from injury and secondly to contain any fire and prevent it spreading.
All cylinders should be removed from the vicinity of the fire.
Cylinders which cannot be removed should be cooled with water from a safe distance.
Cylinders which have been subjected to excess heat should be returned to BOC appropriately labelled.
Acetylene cylinders are hazardous in a fire due to the nature of acetylene and the fact that safety devices such as fusible plugs are fitted. These devices are designed to relieve pressure and prevent the cylinder exploding when overheated to a dangerous level.
Evacuate from the area all persons not involved in the firefighting operation.
Remove all cylinders not on fire but first close cylinder valves before detaching hoses or regulators. Overheated cylinders should be cooled with water (see "General" above).
If a cylinder is on fire determine from which part of the cylinder, or assembly, the acetylene is escaping, i.e. hose connection, regulator stem, valve spindle, fusible plug.
The location of the burning acetylene determines the action to be taken but in all cases, if possible, close the cylinder valve.
Every effort should be made to keep cylinders cool and prevent fusible plugs from melting. If the plug melts (melting temperature 100 deg C) a larger volume of acetylene will be released.
A fuse plug might function at any time and firefighters must keep clear from the path of any gas that might suddenly escape.
Closing the cylinder valve will shut off gas feeding a flame at the hose, hose connection, regulator body, regulator stem, or valve spindle. If the valve spindle is obstructed by the flame use a multi-purpose dry powder or carbon dioxide fire extinguisher.
If an extinguisher is not available, a glove, heavy cloth or a garment soaked in water or wet waste material slapped at the flame will usually extinguish it.
If leak is from fusible plug or the velocity of escaping gas may project flame some distance from cylinder. This leak cannot be stopped and will continue until cylinder is empty. It is preferable to let gas burn but hose cylinder liberally with water and contain spread of fire by conventional fire-fighting methods.
Extinguishing these flames will cause large volumes of acetylene to mix with air to form a highly explosive mixture capable of doing widespread damage if ignited.Although considered preferable.
Handigas, LPG and propane cylinders
These gases are highly flammable and the cylinders can be extremely hazardous when involved in a fire. It is recommended therefore that the procedure and action outlined for the section on "Acetylene Cylinders" should be followed where applicable for Handigas, LPG and propane.