The first full week in February is National Burn Awareness Week, and we would like to mention the hazards of flammable classroom chemicals.
School science labs have an assortment of chemicals on hand for experiments and demonstrations. Some may be of very little risk to handle, but others could cause serious injuries and even death if handled improperly or misused.
Flammable chemicals are most commonly used as solvents such as acetone, ethanol, ethyl acetate, and methanol. It is the vapors that are flammable. Never use any type of open flame or source of ignition around these chemicals when being opened because when a person opens a bottle of flammable liquid, the vapors are first thing to leave the bottle from the top of the bottle.
Some chemicals or incompatible with each other meaning concentrated forms of chemicals that react with each other will produce very exothermic reactions that can be violent and explosive. They can also release toxic substances such as gases. Extreme caution and care needs to be used when handling, storing, or disposing of a combination of these chemicals.
Below are a few incompatible chemicals:
|Acetic acid||Nitric acid, peroxides, permanganates|
|Acetic anhydride||Ethylene glycol, hydroxyl-group-containing compounds|
|Ammonium Nitrate||Acids, flammable liquids, powdered metals, finely divided organic or combustible materials|
|Chlorate salts, such as sodium or potassium chlorate||Acids, ammonium salts, metal powders, finely divided organic or combustible materials|
|Chlorine||Ammonia, butane, hydrogen, turpentine, finely divided metals|
|Hydrocarbons||Bromine, chlorine, peroxides|
|Hydrogen peroxide||Combustible materials, copper, iron, most metals and their salts, any flammable liquid|
|Nitric acid, concentrated||Acetic acid, acetone, alcohol, flammable substances, such as organic chemicals|
|Oxalic acid||Silver, mercury|
|Oxygen||Flammable materials, hydrogen, oils|
|Phosphorus, white||Air, oxygen|
|Potassium permanganate||Ethylene glycol, glycerol, sulfuric acid|
|Sodium (Alkali metals: lithium, sodium, and potassium)||Carbon dioxide, water, alcohols|
|Sodium nitrite||Ammonium salts|
|Sulfuric acid||Chlorates, perchlorates, permanganates|
If an incident should arise, it is imperative to know how to correctly put the fire out.
Water only works on ONE CLASS OF FIRE!
|Classes of Fires|
|A||Fires involving ordinary combustibles, such as wood, paper, and some plastics.|
|B||Fires involving flammable liquids, such as alcohols, lamp oils, or butane.|
|C||Fires involving electrical components.|
|D||Fires involving metals, such as aluminum or sodium.|
|K||Fires involving cooking or animal oils, such as frying foods.|
WHAT FIRE EXTINGUISHERS WILL PUT OUT THESE FIRES??
|Types of Fire Extinguishers|
|Type||Class of Fire|
|Dry chemical (multipurpose)||A, B, C|
|Water||A ONLY (will not work for other types of fires)|
|Foam||B ONLY (will not work for other types of fires)|
|Carbon dioxide (not to be
used in confined areas)