With highly flammable liquids and materials, oil and gas facilities are surrounded by fire risks. Intense fires in these environments can be extremely difficult to manage, so it’s no surprise that fire protection in the oil and gas industry is key. Read on to learn more about the risks in this industry and how to combat them with fire protection.
Fire Protection in the Oil and Gas Industry
At Total Industrial Solutions, we’re an oil and gas industry-focused company specializing in
industrial fire protection and construction. Our expert technicians understand your day-to-day operations and the importance of a safe and efficient work environment, including the risks and best components of fire protection.
What Are the Biggest Fire Risks in the Oil and Gas Industry?
Fire protection in the oil and gas industry is essential to keeping employees and equipment safe. To protect everyone, it’s important to know the most significant fire risks in oil and gas facilities:
- Explosions – Explosions are caused by igniting flammable vapor within a confined space. They’re one of the most dangerous situations in petrochemical facilities.
- BLEVEs (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion) – These types of explosions occur when contents are above their boiling point and the container fails.
- Flash Fires – Flash fires occur when flammable liquids spill or leak from vessels and combine with flammable vapors.
- Flammable Liquid Pool Fires – When you combine the loss of product containment in a storage tank with a common ignition source, the result is flammable liquid pool fires.
- Jet Fires – Jet fires occur when liquid or gas escapes under pressure from a process pipe or vessel and become ignited.
- Normal Combustible Fires – Class A fires are just as likely to occur in oil and gas facilities as flammable liquid fires, especially in offices or other surrounding buildings.
What Are the Main Components of Fire Protection in the Oil and Gas Industry?
In order to protect the facility and its employees from dangerous fires, fire protection systems must be put in place. There are four main components of fire protection to address the risk of the oil and gas facility specifically: fire suppression systems, fire alarm systems, fire extinguishers, and safety training.
Fire Suppression Systems
When it comes to fire protection in the oil and gas industry, fire suppression systems are essential. Foam fire suppression systems are particularly beneficial in these environments. The system will detect a fire, smother the flammable liquid with foam, and prevent the fire from spreading.
Dry chemical fire suppression systems are also effective in extinguishing flammable liquid fires. They detect fires early and use a dry chemical powder to suppress the complex hazards that are too difficult or inaccessible for firefighters to reach.
One other method is water mist systems, which are adequate for oil and gas facilities because they spray fine water droplets to extinguish a fire while causing minimal damage.
Fire Alarm Systems
Fire alarm systems are required in oil and gas facilities. They must include heat, flame, and gas detectors that are automatically activated. They also feature pull stations for manual activation and strobe lights and sirens to alert people.
Fire extinguishers are a safety measure that should be implemented in any home or building, but oil and gas companies should primarily use BC fire extinguishers. These extinguishers help fight fires that these environments are prone to, including fires from electrical equipment and flammable liquids and gases.
Fire Safety Training
Proper fire protection begins with top-notch fire safety training. Personnel should be trained to use fire extinguishing tools and know how to respond appropriately to a fire threat. Educate your employees on specific hazards at their workplace, how the fire protection system works, how to use fire extinguishers and alarms, and the facility’s evacuation plan.
System Maintenance of Oil and Gas Fire Protection
Now you know the importance of fire prevention and protection in the oil and gas industry. But here’s the thing: these protective systems are only effective if they’re well-maintained and regularly inspected. Commit to the safety of your employees and equipment and opt for a regular service schedule.
Here at Total Industrial Solutions, our experienced technicians perform high-quality inspections, testing, and ongoing maintenance on an array of fire suppression systems, including foam, dry chemical, and water systems. We specialize in the oil and gas industry and know how to keep your facility safe and in prime operating condition.
To learn more about system inspections, testing, and maintenance, call the Total Industrial Solutions team today or visit our website.