Flammable

DEFINITION

Easily combustible. Easily ignited by a flame or spark, high temperatures, etc. Highly flammable substances should be well isolated from other substances, stored and disposed of in sturdy, nonflammable containers.On May 6, 1937, the giant German blimp Hindenburg exploded over a New Jersey field, killing thirty-five passengers and crew. The "Zeppelin airship" was about to land at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station after a two and a half day trip from Frankfurt, Germany. It was 300 feet above the ground when it burst into flames. A likely cause: the flammable hydrogen keeping the ship afloat had ignited after it began to leak. The airship was designed to use the nonflammable gas helium. But since helium was in short supply, the company decided to risk using a hazardous substitute. BIG mistake.Prevent accidents by being knowledgeable about the flammability of the materials around you. Be prepared to deal with fires and other hazards by keeping a range of health and safety information and equipment near at hand.Common extinguishing agents are water, carbon dioxide, dry chemical, "alcohol" foam, and halogenated gases (Halons). It's important to know which extinguishers can be used so they can be made available at the work site. It is important to know which agents cannot be used, since an incorrect extinguisher may not work or may create a more hazardous situation. If several materials are involved in a fire, an extinguisher effective for all of the materials should be used.Other resources concerning flammability in the visual arts: Fire Photos.com is a gallery of photos taken at fire scenes, and tips for taking better fire photos. Also see ASTM International (American Society for Testing and Materials), Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), paper, toluene, toxic, and wood.

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