If you add heat and oxygen to a combustible dust, you have the potential for a fire. If the dust disperses in a confined area, a primary explosion can occur. The first explosion dislodges more dust resulting in a second, more destructive explosion. Combustible dusts are found in many industries and include grains, plastics, wood, chemicals, metals and coal.
NIOSH/Centers for Disease Control recommends fire departments “. . . review, revise and enforce standard operating guidelines (SOGs) for structural fire fighting that addresses oxygen-limiting silos.” In addition, NIOSH/CDC states, “Do not use water or traditional fire fighting foam; however, a micelle encapsulator fire extinguishing agent, such as F-500, should be used.” Applying plain water creates flare-ups that can result in explosions; F-500 Encapsulator Agent prevents flare-ups. Foam creates a blanket intended to smother the fire, but instead, traps in the heat. Combustible dusts have plenty of oxygen to continue burning beneath the surface. On the other hand, F-500 EA penetrates deep into the hot spot, safely cooling and extinguishing the fire.
This excellent article from Coal People magazine addresses the recommended method to fight coal silo fires by the PRB Coal Users’ Group. The same procedure is appropriate for most combustible dust fires.
Put the Engineered Advantage of F-500 Encapsulator Agent to work for you