Class D Fires Explained

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What is a Class D fire?

A Class D fire is characterized by the presence of burning metals.  It usually takes extreme heat for metal to ignite, but once started it can spread very quickly making them incredibly dangerous and destructive.

Some of the most common types of combustible metals include the following:

  • Magnesium
  • Titanium
  • Zirconium
  • Lithium
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Uranium
  • Plutonium

The Dangers of Class D Fires

Most metals require extremely high temperatures to ignite.  They occur most often at laboratories, warehouses, and factories where they are used in manufacturing process to cut, drill or mill metals.  Metal dust is created that is prone to creating fires.  Sodium is very hazardous because it immediately burns when in contact with air or water causing explosions to occur.  Lithium also explodes when it comes in contact with water.

Extinguishing a Class D Fire

A dry powder fire extinguisher is the only recommended way to extinguish a metals fire.  It smothers the fire, depriving it of oxygen, and absorbs the heat contained within the fire.  Powder fire extinguishers will stop the burning metal or powder from spreading to other areas.  Metal fires are often the most hazardous because people do not know how to combat them safely and effectively.  They try to use water which only accelerates the fire.

Avoiding Class D Fires

Combustible metals need to be stored in safe, secure containers to reduce the risk of fires.   Fire safety checks should be performed regularly to reduce the fire risks.  Any hazards found should be removed or reduced immediately.  Fire alarms, emergency lighting and dry powder fire extinguishers should be checked often to ensure they work properly.  Fire drills should be conducted frequently to ensure employees know exactly what to do if a fire occurs.

Class D fires can be extremely dangerous.  Call Fire Control Systems today to determine your company’s current and future fire safety needs.

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