At a recent CMSE Fire and Rescue Training Centre Open Day one of our leading fire instructors demonstrated a controlled BLEVE to the delegates who attended the event. As part of the emergency response training programmes this demonstration provides trainees with an understanding of the importance of managing this type of explosion hazard in a fire situation and the importance of setting up safe exclusions zones. Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapour Explosion (BLEVE) is a type of explosion that occurs when a vessel containing a pressurised liquid (LPG) is impacted by a fire, super-heats and ruptures under pressure. Normally the rate of pressure release in the pressure relief vent is exceeded by the rate of over-pressure generated within the vessel. The released gas/vapour is ignited and expands rapidly in a fire ball and propagates outwards igniting the unburned gas or vapours. The pressurised vessel will disintegrate, fragment and propel outwards causing serious injury and destruction in its flight path.
It is important if your workplace is storing LPG gases to understand the explosion hazards. You also need to ensure you have the appropriate control measures in terms of engineering and organisation measures necessary to prevent a BLEVE. This includes ensuring emergency procedures are in place and that First Responders/Emergency Response Teams are trained to deal with this type of scenario.