Friday, October 26, 2012

Be Careful. Your preps can kill someone

Yesterday at work an email went around about someone who was fighting a fire in a storage shed.  The shed was around 10x15 feet, which is a good sized shed.  It would hold a bunch of preps.  I'm not too sure exactly what was in the shed but there were several small propane canisters.  You know the type, they attach to portable lanterns or propane stoves. 

The shed caught on fire.  I'm not sure if it was spontaneous combustion or if a spark started the fire.  There will be more investigation on that but that's beside the point of my blog today.  If the fire starts in a shed and there's no electricity in the shed, unless it's someone playing with matches, it's often spontaneous combustion.  OK, I will talk about spontaneous combustion...

When material suddenly ignites without an external ignition source like a flame or spark it's called spontaneous combustion.  This occurs as a result of a chemical reaction happening to a material that causes the substances to heat up.  When the material is bunched up the air warms up and can't escape into the surrounding area.  This then builds the heat up to a point that the rising temperature causes the material to heat up more quickly.  The chemical reaction continues to heat, the material continues to rise in temperature.  At some point, the flame point of the material, a fire will start.  Most often we learn it's rags soaked with oil.  It can be sawdust piles and even bales of hay.  

Yes, this is a warning that you shouldn't leave your rags soaked in oil in your garage or shed.  May as well use them to start your fire.  More than just worrying about your rags you should be thinking about what is in your shed.  Are you putting all your preps into one place?  Are they safe from fire?  Not only are they safe, but would you be safe if you tried to put out the fire?  It all depends on what you are storing. 

The fire that was discussed in the email was a storage shed filled with camping gear among other things.  I know that my camping gear includes small canisters of propane.  Doesn't yours?  Do you know what happens to small canisters of propane when they get thrown into a fire?  You've read the warnings haven't you?  Keep them away from fire (which is sort of ironic since you are using them to burn a fire).  They explode. 

There was one person in the shed.  He was trying to put the fire out.  While he was in there a camping lantern and propane canister exploded. 

Here's what's left of the lantern!

Here's what's left of the propane canister!
It flashed a fireball then hit the person in the chest.  It knocked him clear out of the shed.  Fortunately he was wearing protective gear and he only ended up with a small bruise on his chest.  Why? He was wearing a hard hat, safety glasses, a shirt, heavy jacket, two pairs of pants, gloves, and heavy boots.  If this was your shed and you noticed it was on fire would you don safety equipment or would you just attack the fire?  After all, your preps are burning!  I would think most of us would just attack the fire. 

I've seen pictures of people's preps. Things are just sort of thrown together in the garage or shed. Pay closer attention to what you are doing.  When you store things you must keep in mind what could go wrong.  Don't think it won't happen to you, because it will.  Probably at the worst possible time. 

No comments:

Post a Comment