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Fire Protection in Refineries

API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2001


EIGHTH EDITION, MAY 2005

Copyright American Petroleum Institute


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Fire Protection in Refineries

Downstream Segment

API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2001


EIGHTH EDITION, MAY 2005

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SPECIAL NOTES

API publications necessarily address problems of a general nature. With respect to partic-
ular circumstances, local, state, and federal laws and regulations should be reviewed.
API is not undertaking to meet the duties of employers, manufacturers, or suppliers to
warn and properly train and equip their employees, and others exposed, concerning health
and safety risks and precautions, nor undertaking their obligations under local, state, or fed-
eral laws.
Information concerning safety and health risks and proper precautions with respect to par-
ticular materials and conditions should be obtained from the employer, the manufacturer or
supplier of that material, or the material safety data sheet.
Nothing contained in any API publication is to be construed as granting any right, by
implication or otherwise, for the manufacture, sale, or use of any method, apparatus, or prod-
uct covered by letters patent. Neither should anything contained in the publication be con-
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strued as insuring anyone against liability for infringement of letters patent.


Generally, API standards are reviewed and revised, reaffirmed, or withdrawn at least every
five years. Sometimes a one-time extension of up to two years will be added to this review
cycle. This publication will no longer be in effect five years after its publication date as an
operative API standard or, where an extension has been granted, upon republication. Status
of the publication can be ascertained from the API Standards department telephone (202)
682-8000. A catalog of API publications, programs and services is published annually and
updated biannually by API, and available through Global Engineering Documents, 15 Inv-
erness Way East, M/S C303B, Englewood, CO 80112-5776.
This document was produced under API standardization procedures that ensure appropri-
ate notification and participation in the developmental process and is designated as an API
standard. Questions concerning the interpretation of the content of this standard or com-
ments and questions concerning the procedures under which this standard was developed
should be directed in writing to the Director of the Standards Department, American Petro-
leum Institute, 1220 L Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005. Requests for permission to
reproduce or translate all or any part of the material published herein should be addressed to
the Director, Business Services.
API standards are published to facilitate the broad availability of proven, sound engineer-
ing and operating practices. These standards are not intended to obviate the need for apply-
ing sound engineering judgment regarding when and where these standards should be
utilized. The formulation and publication of API standards is not intended in any way to
inhibit anyone from using any other practices.
Any manufacturer marking equipment or materials in conformance with the marking
requirements of an API standard is solely responsible for complying with all the applicable
requirements of that standard. API does not represent, warrant, or guarantee that such prod-
ucts do in fact conform to the applicable API standard.

All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or
transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise,
without prior written permission from the publisher. Contact the Publisher,
API Publishing Services, 1220 L Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005.
Copyright ©2005 American Petroleum Institute

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FOREWORD

API’s Fire Protection in Refineries first edition appeared in 1933 as the beginning of the
fire safety guidance series for the “downstream” segment. This eighth edition Recommended
Practice builds on experience gained over seven decades.
The term fire protection used in this publication includes measures taken to prevent fires,
as well as those to minimize, control, or extinguish fires already burning. A thorough
approach to fire protection starts with an understanding of the ignition and combustion pro-
cesses, including control of potential fuel sources with an emphasis on containment. This
publication gives some basic information on these subjects and identifies sources of more
detailed information. While sections of this document discuss general design principles it is
not intended as a design manual. Rather, it presents guidance for those providing fire protec-
tion services to refineries and gives reference to sources of more detailed design related
information. The information presented is based primarily upon experience in a large num-
ber of refineries. It is not intended to exclude or limit the use of other approaches of compa-
rable merit.
This document addresses traditional safety concerns. It does not address safety issues
related to security. Traditional concerns with refinery fire protection center on internal facil-
ity issues. The events of September 11, 2001 made it clear that petroleum industry Owner/
Operators now face new threats from intentional acts posed by changing world political and
social conditions, including an increase in domestic and international terrorism. These previ-
ously obscure threats, to U.S. domestic operations in particular, are now considered credible.
As such, every facility is challenged with addressing general or specific security threats as
appropriate. While “security” is not a subject of this standard, these threats impact both fire
prevention and emergency response capabilities. The petroleum industry has been broadly
evaluating security at its facilities and voluntarily taking actions to improve security as
deemed appropriate based on the size, geographic location, potential risk to workers and the
surrounding communities, and potential risk of attacks. API has published two resources to
assist evaluation of overall security needs: API Security Guidelines for the Petroleum Indus-
try, April 2003 and API/NPRA Security Vulnerability Assessment Methodology for the Petro-
leum & Petrochemical Industries 2nd Edition, October 2004. These documents [available
from the API web site at www.api.org] may help facilities identify needs for special attention
to security issues. Guidance continues to be developed through joint industry action in coop-
eration with U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Additional references are included in
the Bibliography.
API publications may be used by anyone desiring to do so. Every effort has been made by
the Institute to assure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in them; however, the
Institute makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee in connection with this publication
and hereby expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting
from its use or for the violation of any federal, state, or municipal regulation with which this
publication may conflict.
Suggested revisions are invited and should be submitted to the standardization manager,
American Petroleum Institute, 1220 L Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005.

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CONTENTS

Page

1 GENERAL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
1.1 Purpose. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
1.2 Scope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
1.3 Retroactivity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
1.4 Concept of Hazard versus Risk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

2 REFERENCED PUBLICATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

3 DEFINITIONS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

4 CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS OF FIRE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3


4.1 The Combustion Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
4.2 Fuel Types and Classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
4.3 Properties of Petroleum Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
4.4 Oxygen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
4.5 Heat (Source of Ignition) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
4.6 Special Situations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

5 FIRE CONSIDERATIONS IN REFINERY DESIGN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7


5.1 General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
5.2 Hazard Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
5.3 Process Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
5.4 Equipment Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
5.5 Location . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
5.6 Layout . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
5.7 Fireproofing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
5.8 Pressure Relief and Flare Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
5.9 Drainage, Containment, and Waste Disposal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
5.10 Power and Utilities. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

6 FIRE CONTROL AND EXTINGUISHING EQUIPMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19


6.1 General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
6.2 Water for Fire Suppression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
6.3 Foam. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
6.4 Dry Chemicals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
6.5 Combined [Dual] Agents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
6.6 Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

7 OPERATING PRACTICES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
7.1 General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
7.2 Normal Operations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
7.3 Emergency Operations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
7.4 Leaks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

8 MAINTENANCE PROCEDURES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
8.1 General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
8.2 Hot Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
8.3 Planned Maintenance Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
8.4 Winterizing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

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Page

9 EMERGENCY RESPONSE ORGANIZATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30


9.1 General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
9.2 Incident Command System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
9.3 Duties of Fire Protection Staff. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
9.4 Notification Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
9.5 Firefighter Selection and Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
9.6 Incident Commander . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
9.7 Firefighter Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

10 TRAINING FOR FIREFIGHTING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32


10.1 General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
10.2 Drill Ground Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
10.3 Classroom Instruction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
10.4 Overcoming Personal Concerns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
10.5 Documentation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

11 PRE-FIRE INCIDENT PLANNING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34


11.1 General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
11.2 Pre-Fire Incident Planning. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

APPENDIX A BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
APPENDIX B CONVERSION FACTORS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

Figures
1 Fire Tetrahedron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Tables
1 Example Water Flow Rates for Manual Fire Fighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
2 Suggested Residual Pressures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
B-1 Conversion Factors Used in API RP 2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

vi
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Fire Protection in Refineries

1 General 2 Referenced Publications


1.1 PURPOSE The most recent editions of each of the following stan-
dards, codes, and publications are referenced in this Recom-
The purpose of this publication is to provide better under-
mended Practice as useful sources of additional information.
standing of refinery fire protection and the steps needed to
Further information may be available from the cited Internet
promote the safe storage, handling, and processing of petro-
World Wide Web sites. Appendix A organizes these and other
leum and petroleum products in refineries.
references by subject area.
1.2 SCOPE
API
This document covers basic concepts of refinery fire pro-
Security Guidelines for the Petroleum Industry, 2nd Ed.
tection. It reviews the chemistry and physics of refinery fires;
April 2003
discusses how the design of refinery systems and infrastruc-
ture impact the probability and consequences of potential API/NPRA Security Vulnerability Assessment Methodology
fires; describes fire control and extinguishing systems typi- for the Petroleum & Petrochemical Indus-
cally used in refineries; examines fire protection concepts that tries, 2nd Edition October 2004
should be covered in operating and maintenance practices RP 500 Classifications of Locations for Electrical
and procedures; and provides information on organization of Installation at Petroleum Facilities Classified
and training for refinery emergency responders. Many of the as Class I, Division 1 and Division 2
concepts, systems and equipment discussed in this document API 510 Pressure Vessel Inspection Code: Mainte-
are covered in detail in referenced publications, standards, or nance Inspection, Rating, Repair, and
governmental requirements. Alteration
RP 520 Sizing, Selection, and Installation of Pressure-
1.3 RETROACTIVITY Relieving Devices in Refineries, Part I Sizing
Any provisions in this publication related to design are and Selection, and Part 2 Installation
intended for reference when designing new facilities, when RP 521 Guide for Pressure-Relieving and Depressur-
considering major revisions or expansions, or establishing ing Systems
new programs. It is not intended that any recommendations in Std 537 Flare Details for General Refinery and Petro-
this publication be applied retroactively to work performed at chemical Service
existing facilities. This recommended practice should provide
Std 560 Fired Heaters for General Refinery Services
useful guidance when there is a desire or need to review pro-
cedures, programs or facilities. RP 576 Inspection of Pressure Relieving Devices
Std 620 Design and Construction of Large, Welded,
1.4 CONCEPT OF HAZARD VERSUS RISK Low-Pressure Storage Tanks
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Hazards are conditions or properties of materials with the Std 650 Welded Steel Tanks for Oil Storage
inherent ability to cause harm. Risk involves the potential for RP 752 Management of Hazards Associated with
exposure to hazards that will result in harm or damage. For Location of Process Plant Buildings
example, a hot surface or material can cause thermal skin Std 2000 Venting Atmospheric and Low-Pressure Stor-
burns or a corrosive acid can cause chemical skin burns, but age Tanks: Nonrefrigerated and Refrigerated
these injuries can occur only if there is contact exposure to RP 2003 Protection Against Ignitions Arising Out of
skin. A person working at an elevated height has “stored Static, Lightning, and Stray Currents
energy” and a fall from a height can cause injury—but there RP 2009 Safe Welding, Cutting and Hot Work Practices
is no risk unless a person is working at heights and thus in the Petroleum and Petrochemical Industries
exposed to the hazard. There is no risk when there is no
RP 2021 Management of Atmospheric Storage Tank
potential for exposure.
Fires
Determining the level of risk for any activity involves
understanding hazards and estimating the probability and RP 2023 Guide for Safe Storage and Handling of
severity of exposure that could lead to harm or damage. Heated Petroleum-Derived Asphalt Products
While the preceding examples relate hazards to the risk to and Crude-Oil Residua
people, the same principles apply to property risk. For RP 2030 Application of Fixed Water Spray System for
instance, hydrocarbon vapors in a flammable mixture with air Fire Protection in the Petroleum Industry
can ignite if exposed to a source of ignition resulting in a fire RP 2201 Safe Hot Tapping Practices in the Petroleum
which could cause property damage as well as injury. & Petrochemical Industries
1

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2 API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2001

RP 2210 Flame Arresters for Vents of Tanks Storing EPA4


Petroleum Products EPA 430-R-00-002 Review of the Use Of Carbon Diox-
RP 2214 Spark Ignition Properties of Hand Tools ide Total Flooding Fire Extinguishing Systems,
RP 2216 Ignition Risk of Hydrocarbon Liquids and February 2000/August 2003
Vapors by Hot Surfaces in the Open Air
NFPA5
Publ 2218 Fireproofing Practices in Petroleum and Pet- Fire Protection Guide to Hazardous Materials
rochemical Processing Plants 10 Portable Fire Extinguishers
Publ 2219 Safe Operating Guidelines for Vacuum Trucks 11 Low-, Medium-, and High-Expansion Foam
in Petroleum Service 12 Carbon Dioxide Extinguishing Systems
Std 2220 Improving Owner and Contractor Safety Per- 12A Halon 1301Fire Extinguishing Systems
formance 13 Installation of Sprinkler Systems
RP 2221 Contractor & Owner Safety Program 15 Water Spray Fixed Systems for Fire Protection
Implementation 16 Installation of Foam-Water Sprinkler and Foam-
RP 2350 Overfill protection for Petroleum Storage Water Spray Systems
Tanks 17 Dry Chemical Extinguishing Systems
20 Installation of Stationary Pumps for Fire Protec-
Std 2510 Design and Construction of Liquefied Petro-
tion
leum Gas (LPG) Installations
24 Installation of Private Fire Service Mains and
Publ 2510A Fire-Protection Considerations for the Design Their Appurtenances
and Operation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas 25 Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-
(LPG) Storage Facilities Based Fire Protection Systems
Std 2610 Design, Construction, Operation, Mainte- 30 Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code
nance and Inspection of Terminal and Tank 58 Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code
Facilities 69 Explosion Prevention Systems
70 National Electrical Code
AIChE (CCPS)1 85 Boiler and Combustion Systems Hazards Code
Guidelines for Engineering Design for Process Safety 496 Purged and Pressurized Enclosures for Electrical
Guidelines for Hazard Evaluation Procedures Equipment
[CCPS has a catalog of 75+ process safety documents 497 Classification of Flammable Liquids, Gases, or
some of which are listed by subject in Appendix A] Vapors and of Hazardous (Classified) Locations
for Electrical Installations in Chemical Process
Areas
ANSI2
497A Classification of Class I Hazardous Locations for
B31.1 Power Piping [Additional piping references in Electrical Installations in Chemical Plants
Appendix A] 600 Industrial Fire Brigades
Z129.1 Hazardous Industrial Chemicals—Precaution- 750 Water Mist Fire Protection Systems
ary Labeling 780 Installation of Lightning Protection Systems
Z244.1 Lockout/tagout of Energy Sources 1561 Emergency Services Incident Management System
Z400 Hazardous Industrial Chemicals—Material 1600 Disaster/Emergency Management and Business
Safety Data Sheets—Preparation Continuity Programs
2001 Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems
ASME3
Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code OCIMF6
International Safety Guides for Oil Tankers and Terminals
1American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Center for Chemical
Process Safety, 345 East 47th Street, New York, New York 10017. 4U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Air and Radia-
www.aiche.org/ccps tion, U.S. EPA, 401 M Street, SW, Washington, D.C. 20460.
2American National Standards Institute, 1430 Broadway, New York, 5National Fire Protection Association, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy,
New York 10018. www.ansi.org Massachusetts 02269. www.nfpa.org
3American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 345 East 47th Street, 6Oil Companies International Marine Forum, Bermuda, and Interna-
New York, New York 10017. www.asme.org tional Chamber of Shipping, London.

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FIRE PROTECTION IN REFINERIES 3

OSHA7 3.7 pyrophoric: The property of a material to self-heat


1910.38 Employee Emergency Plans and Fire Preven- and ignite in the presence of air.
tion Plans
1910.110 Storage and handling of Liquefied Petroleum 3.8 risk: The probability of exposure to a hazard which
Gases could result in harm or damage.
1910.119 Process Safety Management of Highly Hazard- 3.9 risk assessment: The identification and analysis,
ous Chemicals with judgements of probability and consequences, either
1910.120 Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency qualitative or quantitative, of the likelihood and outcome of
Response specific events or scenarios that result in harm or damage.
1910.132 Personal Protective Equipment
1910.147 Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) 3.10 risk-based analysis: A review of potential hazards
1910.156 Subpart L—Fire Brigades and needs to eliminate or control such hazards based on a for-
1910.252 Subpart Q—Welding, Cutting and Brazing malized risk assessment.

3.11 switch loading: Loading of low vapor pressure


3 Definitions (high-flash-point) materials into containers where flammable
Some of the terms used in this document are defined in the vapors may be present from previous use, such as when diesel
following sections. Additional definitions and an expanded fuel is loaded into a tank truck or tank car which last carried a
discussion of fire-related hydrocarbon properties and phe- cargo of gasoline. API 2003 provides additional information
nomena are included in Section 4. on the static ignition hazards associated with switch loading.
3.1 combustible: As defined by NFPA and used in this 3.12 water mist: Defined by NFPA 750 as a water spray
document, refers to any solid that can burn or to any liquid for which the flow-weighted cumulative volumetric distribu-
that has a flashpoint of 100°F (37.8°C) or greater. Section 4.3 tion of water droplets is less than 1000 microns at the mini-
provides further explanation. See Section 1.7 of NFPA 30- mum design operating pressure of the water mist nozzle.
2003 for alternate classification of combustible liquids.
3.2 combustion (burning): The rapid reaction of oxi- 4 Chemistry and Physics of Fire
dizable material with an oxidizer, usually oxygen from the
air, followed by the development of heat. This reaction usu- There are inherent hazards associated with the processing,
ally produces flames. handling and/or storage of petroleum products, partly due to
the volatility of many of these products. If proper precautions
3.3 fuel: Material capable of undergoing combustion are not followed to prevent the concurrent presence of the
which burns to feed a fire. components of combustion there is the possibility of a fire or
explosion which could result in risk of harm to exposed per-
3.4 flammable: As defined by NFPA and used in this doc-
ument, refers to any gas that can burn or to any liquid that has sonnel, damage to equipment, and adverse effects on the envi-
a flashpoint below 100°F (37.8°C). The archaic term inflam- ronment.
mable is obsolete. Section 4.3 provides further explanation.
See Section 1.7 of NFPA 30-2003 for alternate classification 4.1 THE COMBUSTION PROCESS
of flammable liquids.
Three components are necessary for a fire to begin - oxy-
3.5 hazard: Conditions or properties of materials with the gen (usually from air) mixed in the proper proportions with
inherent ability to cause harm. These include physical or fuel which has been exposed to sufficient heat to vaporize,
chemical characteristics such as flammability, toxicity, corro- with enough additional heat to initiate combustion and vapor-
sivity, stored chemical, electrical, hydraulic, pressurized or ize more fuel.
mechanical energy, and conditions with the potential for caus- A fire starts and is sustained by a fourth essential compo-
ing harm or damage to people, property, or the environment. nent, a free-radical chemical chain reaction that enables the
fire to continue as long as the three other components remain
3.6 process: The refinery equipment, vessels, and piping
available. The four essential components are represented in
in which refining takes place to “process” crude oil to manu-
the Fire Tetrahedron diagram (see Figure 1).
facture products.
A basic understanding of the components of a fire and an
7U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Admin- appreciation of the related fire prevention measures will help
istration, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20210. reduce the risk of fire and aid fire personnel in their suppres-
www.osha.gov sion efforts should a fire occur.

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4 API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2001

Autoignition Temperature: Minimum temperature to which


CHEMICAL REACTION
a fuel in air must be heated to start self-sustained combustion
without a separate ignition source. This means that, should a
leak occur on a line containing a petroleum product above its
autoignition temperature, ignition can occur independent of
an ignition source.
HEAT
Boiling Point: The temperature at which the vapor pressure
of a liquid equals the surrounding atmospheric pressure. For
purposes of defining the boiling point, atmospheric pressure
shall be considered to be 14.7 psia (760 mm Hg). For mix-
OXYGEN tures that do not have a constant boiling point, the 20 percent
evaporated point of a distillation performed in accordance
with ASTM D86 shall be considered to be the boiling point.
FUEL
Fire Point: The temperature (usually a few degrees above the
Figure 1—Fire Tetrahedron flash point) at which a liquid produces enough vapors to sus-
tain combustion. The difference between flash and fire points
4.2 FUEL TYPES AND CLASSES is so small that it has no practical significance for materials
such as gasoline.
Fuels can be classified as three types: solids (coal, wood,
plastic, etc.); liquids (gasoline, crude oil, alcohol, etc.); and Flammable Range: A range of vapor-to-air ratios within
gases (propane, hydrogen, acetylene, etc.). As only gases which ignition can occur. The lower flammable limit (LFL) is
burn, the combustion of a liquid or solid fuel requires partial the minimum vapor-to-air concentration below which ignition
conversion of liquid or solid fuels into a gaseous state by cannot occur. Atmospheres below the LFL are referred to as
heating. This process is called pyrolysis for solid fuels and too lean to burn. The upper flammable limit (UFL) is the max-
vaporization for liquid fuels. imum vapor-to-air concentration above which ignition cannot
NFPA 10 classifies fires based on the fuel involved—either occur. Atmospheres above the UFL are referred to as too rich
type A, B, C, or D. Fire extinguishing agents are often identi- to burn. Flammable ranges can vary widely, as illustrated by
fied by this system based on the type of fire for which they are flammable vapor-to-air ranges for gasoline (1.4 – 7.6%) and
effective (i.e., a dry chemical fire extinguisher may carry a acetylene (2.5 – 100%).
Class ABC rating where a pressurized water extinguisher car-
Flash Point: The lowest temperature at which a liquid gives
ries only a Class A rating).
off enough vapor to produce a flammable mixture with air
Class A: Fires are those involving ordinary combustible solid immediately above the surface. A source of ignition is needed
materials such as wood, coal, paper, rubber, and for flash to occur. When this temperature is above ambient,
many plastics. vapors will ignite but will not continue to burn until heated to
the “fire point.” The Flash Point temperature can be very low
Class B: Fires are those involving flammable and combusti- for volatile petroleum products; for instance, the flash point
ble liquids and gases such as gasoline, crude oil, for gasoline is typically quoted as about – 45°F (– 43°C).

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alcohols, LPG, and hydrogen.
Specific Gravity: Ratio of the weight of a given substance to
Class C: Fires are those involving energized electrical equip- the weight of an equal volume of a standard substance (water
ment. While electricity is not a fuel, it represents a for liquids and air for gases). This is frequently referred to as
significant hazard to firefighters if improper extin- Vapor Density for gases. Since the specific gravity of the stan-
guishing agents or methods are used. Once the elec- dard equals one, liquids with a specific gravity less than one
trical circuit is de-energized, the fire is then treated will float on water (unless they are water soluble like most
as a Class A or B, depending upon the fuel involved. alcohols). Most liquid petroleum products have specific grav-
ities less than one. Likewise, gases with a specific gravity of
Class D: Fires are those involving combustible metals such less than one (e.g., hydrogen and methane) will rise in the
as sodium, aluminum, magnesium, titanium, etc. atmosphere, whereas gases with a specific gravity greater
than one (e.g., almost all hydrocarbons with two or more car-
4.3 PROPERTIES OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS bon atoms such as ethane, propane and butane) will tend to
stay close to the ground and seek low lying areas.
There are several physical properties exhibited by petro-
leum products which have a significant impact on their fire Vapor Pressure: The pressure exerted by the vapor of a sub-
and explosion potential. These include: stance when the substance and its vapor are in equilibrium.

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FIRE PROTECTION IN REFINERIES 5

Equilibrium is established when the rate of evaporation of a where hydrocarbons from furnace tubes leak to the “atmo-
substance is equal to the rate of condensation of its vapor. In sphere” inside the fire box. A fire in a closed refinery process
general terms, the higher the measured laboratory vapor pres- system is unlikely to occur during normal operations,
sure the more likely that liquid is to give off vapors under although equipment operated under vacuum can be vulnera-
“real world” conditions. Reid Vapor Pressure, a measure com- ble to air leaks. A significant air leak into equipment or piping
monly used to characterize gasoline and other hydrocarbon under vacuum can result in a fire inside the piping or equip-
volatility, is measured at 100°F (37.8°C) in a closed container. ment under operating conditions. Although infrequent, fires
inside normally pressurized process piping and equipment
The importance of these basic vapor generation and com-
usually occur during start-up, shutdown, or maintenance
bustion properties can be seen in the way flammable and
activities, after air enters equipment when it is opened and
combustible liquids are classified (see the following discus-
contacts flammable or pyrophoric material.
sion and NFPA 30 for more information):
Some materials that contain oxygen in their chemical com-
Flammable liquids have flash points below 100°F (37.8°C)
position [such as alcohols and ethers] require less atmo-
and vapor pressures not exceeding 40 psia (2068.6 mm Hg) at
spheric oxygen to support combustion.
100°F (37.8°C). Liquids with vapor pressures above 40 psia
(276 kPa) at 100°F (37.8°C) are considered gases by NFPA 30.
4.5 HEAT (SOURCE OF IGNITION)
Flammable liquids are subdivided into 3 classes (in
decreasing hazard), based on flash point and boiling point: Oxygen is always available from the ambient environment.
• Class IA—flash point below 73°F (22.8°C) and boiling Rigorous efforts aim to prevent hydrocarbon leaks to atmo-
point below 100°F (37.8°C). sphere. However, if leaks occur there is the potential for a
• Class IB—flash point below 73°F (22.8°C) and boiling flammable mixture of fuel and air to exist. Therefore, in addi-
point above 100°F (37.8°C). tion to preventing leaks, emphasis is placed on limiting
• Class IC—flash point at or above 73°F (22.8°C) and sources of ignition. An attractive approach would be the strict
below 100°F (37.8°C). exclusion of all possible ignition sources from areas in which
Combustible liquids have flash points at or above 100°F flammable substances could be present. However, strict appli-
(37.8°C) cation of this principle is impractical (for instance furnaces
Combustible liquids are subdivided into 3 classes (in are often needed to provide process heat).
decreasing hazard), based on flash point: The five general categories of heat energy are chemical,
• Class II—flash point at or above 100°F (37.8°C) and electrical, mechanical, nuclear, and solar. Those heat energies
below 140°F (60°C). applicable to petroleum products are discussed further in the
• Class IIIA—flash point at or above 140°F (60°C) and following sections.
below 200°F (93°C).
• Class IIIB—flash point at or above 200°F (93°C). 4.5.1 Chemical Ignition Sources
OSHA uses NFPA 30 definitions for flammable and com-
Heat of Combustion: The heat energy, in the form of a flame,
bustible liquids. Alternate systems using 140°F (60°C) as the
that is released by the chemical reaction of a fire.
dividing point between flammable and combustible appear in
ANSI/ACC Z129.1 and the regulations of the U.S. Depart- Spontaneous Heating: The heating of an organic substance
ment of Transportation and the United Nations. The NFPA without the addition of external heat. A common example is
classification system is used in this document and is widely oily rags which slowly oxidize releasing heat. In the petro-
used for facility-based fire protection purposes in the USA. leum industry, spontaneous heating can occur from pyro-
For regulatory compliance purposes (such as labeling for off- phoric iron sulfide deposits. These deposits may form in
site transportation) reference should be made to the specific equipment handling petroleum products containing hydrogen
regulations or codes governing the activity of concern. sulfide or other sulfur compounds when there is insufficient
oxygen to fully convert the sulfur compounds to sulfates.
4.4 OXYGEN Pyrophoric iron sulfide deposits are generally not a problem
if they stay wet or remain in an oxygen deficient environ-
Oxygen is readily available as air contains about 21% oxy-
ment. However, once exposed to air, they can oxidize and
gen under normal circumstances. A minimum oxygen con-
generate heat, providing a source of ignition for any flamma-
centration of 10% to 12% is typically required to support
ble petroleum vapors present or evolved as a result of pyro-
combustion. Refinery piping, processing and some closed
phoric heating.
storage systems containing hydrocarbon products are inten-
tionally maintained with insufficient oxygen to support com- Heat of Solution and Heat of Dilution: Represents heat
bustion. Most refinery fires occur when hydrocarbon leaks to released by dissolving matter in liquid or mixing of unlike
the atmosphere where there is enough oxygen to support liquids. While not an ignition source, substantial quantities of
combustion. This is true even in the case of furnace fires, heat can be generated creating a potential fire hazard in cer-
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6 API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2001

tain circumstances. The heating of caustic (sodium hydrox- 4.5.4 Hot Surfaces as Ignition Sources
ide) or acid process materials can raise temperatures, vaporize
liquid materials and result in container failure and releases of Although not a type of heat, hot surfaces can be a source of
hydrocarbon providing accessible fuel for a fire. ignition if they are large enough and hot enough. The hot sur-
face vaporizes the liquid, a flammable atmosphere forms, and
4.5.2 Electrical Ignition Sources the hot surface raises the flammable atmosphere to its autoi-
gnition temperature. Generally, the smaller the heated sur-
Arcs and Sparks: The energy released by current flowing face, the hotter it must be to provide a source of ignition. The
across an air gap can cause significant heating of the air and heat flow from the hot surface must overcome the cooling
of the electrodes (equipment) across which the arc or spark effect of the evaporating liquid or expanding vapor while pro-
travels. Arcing can occur when current flow is initiated or viding enough energy to heat the vapor to autoignition tem-
interrupted by opening or closing a switch or by the intermit- perature. As a result, the larger the heated surface in relation
tent contact of loose connections. Sparks and arcs from nor- to the quantity of vapor-to-air mixture, the more rapidly igni-
mal AC or DC refinery equipment are assumed to provide tion will take place and the lower the surface temperature
sources of ignition and this equipment must be used with necessary for ignition. Because of the heat absorbed by
appropriate precautions as discussed in API 500 Classifica- vaporization, it is usually more difficult for a hot surface to
tion of Locations for Electrical Installation at Petroleum ignite flammable liquids than the vapors. Less volatile com-
Facilities Classified as Class I, Division 1 and Division 2.
bustible liquids which evaporate at higher temperatures can
Static Electricity: The buildup of a positive charge on one be ignited more readily by contact with hot surfaces, as evi-
surface and negative charge on another is a natural phenome- denced by the burning of motor oil splashed on a hot automo-
non associated with the flow of fluids (such as hydrocarbons) bile exhaust manifold where gasoline may vaporize from a
through pipes. The charges are attracted to each other and a hot manifold without ignition. See API RP 2216 for addi-
spark can occur when the voltage differential is sufficient to tional information.
ionize an air gap and provide a path to transfer electrons
between the surfaces to become evenly charged again. 4.6 SPECIAL SITUATIONS
Grounding and bonding are used during petroleum transfer
operations to provide a conductive path through which accu- The inherent properties of hydrocarbon materials pro-
mulated static charges on the hydrocarbon surface can recom- cessed and produced in refineries present several unique haz-
bine with opposite charges on the vessel shell or loading arms ards related to hydrocarbon storage. Some of these
to prevent sparking and potential ignition. phenomena have the potential to cause substantial damage.
These should be addressed while designing for fire prevention
Lightning: Static electricity on a very large scale. Protection and planning for emergency response. Operational precau-
against direct lightning strikes is difficult. The floating roofs tions, such as outlined in this Recommended Practice, and
of storage tanks use shunts to metallic shoes sliding on the well planned emergency response can reduce the likelihood
grounded tank shell to provide a path to ground as protection of occurrence and help prevent escalation in the event of an
from induced charge sparks caused by lightning. incident.
See API RP 2003 Protection Against Ignitions Arising Out Boilover: Sudden overflow or ejection of the contents of an
of Static, Lightning, and Stray Currents for more in-depth oil storage tank (crude oil or certain other viscous liquids)
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information. during a full surface fire due to a heat wave (layer of hot,
heavy oil) reaching water or water-oil emulsion at the bottom
4.5.3 Mechanical Ignition Sources of the tank. The water flash-boils and turns to steam with
rapid expansion which can send the tank contents a signifi-
Friction: Heat created by the rubbing of two surfaces
against each other. High energy friction sparks, such as cant distance. Boilover occurs only with tanks containing oils
those produced by failure of pump bearings leading to rub- with a wide boiling range including both a viscous fraction
bing of mechanical seals, can ignite flammable mixtures. and light ends (e.g., like crude oil, but not gasoline). In
Typical low energy sparks produced by the impact of steel, extreme cases substantial amounts of flammable liquids can
stone, or other hard substances (including hand tools) will be expelled creating a serious hazard for hundreds of feet sur-
not ordinarily ignite petroleum vapors. See API RP 2214 for rounding the tank. See the NFPA Flammable and Combusti-
further information. ble Liquids Code Handbook and API RP 2021 Appendix G
for more information.
Slopover: Results from a water stream being applied to the
hot surface of boiling oil, when the oil is viscous and its tem-
perature exceeds the boiling point of water.

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FIRE PROTECTION IN REFINERIES 7

Frothover: Overflowing a container not on fire when water 5.2 HAZARD ANALYSIS
boils under the surface of a viscous hot oil. This is one reason
product rundown temperatures to tankage should be moni- Preventing and mitigating loss of containment of flamma-
tored and controlled. ble and combustible materials is an important element of
refinery fire protection. Systematic hazard analysis with
BLEVE (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion): Cat- implementation of the findings can help a refinery avoid
astrophic failure of a container into two or more major pieces major releases of process materials and reduce the risk of
when the container contents are well above their atmospheric potential fires. These activities can also help the facility
pressure boiling point temperatures. Classic cases of BLEVE implement corporate Management of Process Hazards pro-
have involved fire exposure of liquefied petroleum gas con- grams and satisfy regulatory requirements (examples in the
tainers such as LPG rail cars. In one “classic” scenario the USA are OSHA 1910.119 and EPA RMP).
contents of the fire-exposed LPG container heat until the The use of hazard analysis during process design, site
vapor pressure reaches the set point of the pressure relief selection, refinery layout, equipment selection, and civil and
device. The PRV operates properly; it opens, releasing flam- structural design will aid in the mitigation of hazards which
mable gas to prevent overpressure of the container. Subse- might result in fires. Safety elements should be considered as
quent localized heating of an unwetted portion of the early as the conceptual stages and continue throughout all
container shell wall (such as by jet fire impingement) weak- stages of process design for new construction, upgrades, and
ens the container. If the shell wall is weakened to the point expansions. The hazard analysis should include input from
where the failure pressure of the container falls to the set research and development personnel, designers and refinery
pressure of the relief device, the container wall can rupture, management. The purpose of the hazards analysis is to iden-
even when the relief device is properly sized. The contents of tify early in the design process any potential hazards inherent
the container vaporize “instantly” when the container fails, in a process design, and to integrate protective measures to
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and ignite causing a large fireball. The BLEVE phenomenon address these potential hazards.
is applicable to volatile liquids as well as to LPG. (See the The analysis should include an evaluation of the fire, inter-
NFPA Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code Handbook nal explosion, and reactivity potential of process equipment
for further information.) and contents and the consequences associated with such
events.
More information on the hazards involved with petroleum
products and the fire prevention/ protection measures avail- There are several types of hazard analysis methodology
able to deal effectively with these hazards can be found in currently in use. Some of the more prevalent types are What
other sections of this publication and in cited references. If, HAZOP (Hazard and Operability studies), FMEA (Failure
Mode and Effects Analysis), and Fault Tree Analysis. The
AIChE-CCPS [Center for Chemical Process Safety] pub-
5 Fire Considerations in Refinery Design lishes Guidelines for Hazard Evaluation Procedures and now
5.1 GENERAL has over 75 process safety resources listed in their catalog. In
the United States, OSHA 1910.119 Process Safety Manage-
This section discusses general design principles for refiner- ment of Highly Hazardous Chemicals and EPA Risk Manage-
ies, with emphasis on fire prevention and fire mitigation. This ment Program Rule provide additional information on these
Recommended Practice is not a design manual. Many of the methodologies and their use and technical guidance resources
references cited can provide specific design information. The on their respective web sites. Similar regulatory resources are
principles outlined are intended as guides to good engineer- available in other jurisdictions.
ing practice. It is not intended that the fire protection systems A properly executed Process Hazards Analysis can identify
and equipment designs discussed be applied retroactively to potential fire related events that require further analysis. One
existing installations. method for further defining the appropriate level of protection
The principles described identify certain areas to consider for facilities and equipment is a Fire Hazard Analysis (FHA).
during refinery design for new construction or upgrades and An FHA is a study used to evaluate the significance of fire haz-
expansions to help reduce the possibility of a fire and to miti- ards in a particular fire area and evaluate consequences of fire
gate fire damage. Variance from the principles described does related events. The results of the FHA are integrated into an
not necessarily imply that a refinery is inadequately protected overall risk assessment process which assess risk and cost ben-
against fire. Safety and fire protection practices must be eval- efit trade-offs for mitigating the hazards.
uated within the design philosophy of the specific project An FHA should document the inventory of hazardous
involved, on the basis of experience, accepted process safety material, calculate the size and magnitude of the fire, and
management practices, normal industry practice and regula- determine the impact of the fire on personnel, equipment, the
tory requirements. community, and the environment. The FHA should provide a

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8 API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2001

clear understanding of the hazards so that performance-based e. Over stressing of vessel shell.
fire protection solutions can be provided. f. Excess vibration.
g. Excess corrosion/erosion.
5.3 PROCESS DESIGN h. Failure due to external loading or impact.
Process design includes evaluation of the properties of pro- i. Internal explosion.
cess materials, process conditions, and inventories. Process j. Tube rupture from overheating.
design should emphasize the principles of “inherent safety”.
For example, minimization of hazardous material inventories 5.4.1 Materials of Construction
in the process design phase can be effective in decreasing the
consequences of a release due to leaks or explosions. The suitability for the intended use of materials at a refinery
It is important to have basic understanding of (a) general has a bearing on fire loss risk. The standards, specifications,
properties, such as reactivity, flammability, toxicity, and sta- and recommendations of nationally-recognized authorities
bility of materials used in the process, and (b) procedures for should be consulted and applied where relevant. In many
safe handling of materials used in the process when in storage. instances, specifications have been promulgated by the Ameri-
can Petroleum Institute to meet the particular needs and
In reviewing process conditions, it is important to under-
requirements of oil refineries. Additional information is avail-
stand the operating parameters, such as pressure and tempera-
able in the publications of such organizations as the American
ture, intended by the design along with their associated
Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM); the American
margins of safety. Potential hazards are introduced if abnor-
Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME); the American
mal operating conditions exceed process design conditions.
National Standards Institute (ANSI); the National Fire Protec-
Extremes in these conditions will increase stress and may
tion Association (NFPA); the American Society for Metals
cause undesired chemical reactions or equipment failure.
(ASM); the National Association of Corrosion Engineers
(NACE); and Underwriters' Laboratories, Inc. (UL).
5.4 EQUIPMENT DESIGN
A careful review and selection of materials by qualified
Proper design and arrangement of equipment in processing personnel decreases the potential for materials failure. Proper
units, storage areas, and loading/unloading areas can prevent selection of the materials of construction requires a thorough
potential hazards from resulting in fires. Design should be knowledge of the internal process, the exterior environment,
consistent with accepted industry codes and supplemented failure modes, correct material application and fabrication
with good engineering practices by personnel having knowl- techniques, maintenance philosophy, and inspection intervals.
edge of equipment service and its potential hazards. Key The current trend toward positive material identification
aspects of the design should include materials of construc- (PMI) programs provides a quality-control method for pre-
tion, mechanical design and equipment construction, and the venting the unintended use of inappropriate materials, help-
process control system. The following lists are examples (but ing to avert one potential cause of material failures.
not exclusive of other conditions or mechanisms). Corrosion is a recurring cause of loss of containment of
The following conditions can lead to fires or explosions: flammable and combustible materials leading to fires. The
a. Vapor clouds resulting from release of flammable liquids potential for unexpected corrosion is therefore one of the
or gases. most important factors in selecting the materials of construc-
b. Spill releases of flammable liquids. tion and maintaining surveillance programs. See the relevant
API publications for inspection of refinery equipment [some
c. Pressure increase in vessels beyond their design.
are listed in the Appendix A Bibliography].
d. Loss of inerting, enriching, or diluting systems.
e. Increase in temperatures due to unstable conditions. The basis for selection of materials is the performance of
the materials under process design conditions and the interac-
f. Formation of flammable mixtures inside equipment.
tion of the materials with the external environment. Operating
g. Mixing of incompatible materials.
conditions include start-up, shutdown, and upset conditions.
h. Conditions resulting in dust explosions.
Any potential problem anticipated with a particular material
i. Undue vibration and shock from process conditions.
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should be discussed during hazard analysis sessions. It is


Potential mechanisms for material release from process important that personnel with relevant expertise be consulted
equipment are: during material selection.
a. Vessel rupture due to pressure/flow demand greater than
5.4.2 Mechanical Design and Equipment
relief capacity.
Construction
b. Vessel rupture due to brittle fracture.
c. Failures of flanges, gaskets, seals, or plugs. Refinery processes frequently operate at high pressures and
d. Weld or casting failures. temperatures that put stress on equipment. Equipment used in

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FIRE PROTECTION IN REFINERIES 9

the process must be designed to withstand the stresses of the 5.4.2.3 Isolation Valves
operating conditions to which it will be subjected.
Consideration should be given to access to valves during
In addition to a quality control program for materials, a
fire conditions. Adequate equipment isolation valves should
sound quality control program for equipment construction is
be provided within process unit areas to isolate equipment
important and should be in place during construction activi-
during fire situations and to permit blinding for maintenance
ties to verify that “as built” construction is in conformance
and inspection. During blinding operations, blinds suitable
with design specifications.
for equipment-rated pressure should be installed. Isolation
valves and drains should be provided for equipment that
5.4.2.1 Pressure Vessels
may be opened or removed during repair operations. The
Design and construction specifications for vessels subject to use of automatic (fire or heat actuated) self-closing valves is
pressures of 15 pounds per square inch gage or more are given not recommended unless confirmed as inherently safe by a
in Section VIII, “Unfired Pressure Vessels,” of the ASME rigorous process safety review since in the event of a fire
Boiler and Pressure Code. these could close and prevent the orderly shutdown of
Suitable provisions must be made for cleaning and venti- equipment or transfer of product from tanks or vessels dur-
lating a vessel when it is inspected internally. It should be iso- ing an emergency.
lated from other equipment and from flammable, toxic, or
inert materials. 5.4.2.4 Oil and Gas Piping
Reactors, columns, exchangers, and boilers are typical
Specifications for the construction of oil and gas piping at
pressure vessels found in a refinery which require special
refineries are contained in ANSI B31.3. The piping layout
design considerations for structural supports, instrumentation,
should be designed with battery limit valves so any major
and protective systems.
processing area within the refinery can be blocked off in case
of fire. This can help prevent the flow of fuel into the fire area
5.4.2.1.1 Internal Design
and reduce disruption of operations in other areas. The Bibli-
Internal design of vessels should avoid pockets where the ography notes other specific ANSI piping standards.
lack of drainage would allow water to accumulate, particu- During the design stages of a refinery project the process
larly during startup. The sudden generation of steam caused information, such as type of fluids, temperatures, pressures,
by the contact of hot-oil charge stocks with water can result in and flow conditions, must be detailed so that compatible gas-
dangerous overpressure of equipment. kets, materials of pipe construction, line flange classes, and
pipe wall thicknesses can be provided for the piping system.
5.4.2.1.2 Protection of Vessels Special piping and valving may be needed to address two-
phase flow, high pressure drops, corrosive or erosive fluid
Vessels with internal refractory or insulation, or vessels
properties or high-velocity flow conditions.
which handle materials entirely in the vapor phase, may be
Other special design features of piping which may be of
subject to rapid overheating and rupture when exposed to fire
concern and need additional discussion and detail include:
if fire protection cooling, insulation or pressure relief is not
provided. a. Thermoplastic or plastic lined pipe.
b. Double-walled pipe.
5.4.2.1.3 Flanges c. Piping in below-ground service.
Vessel connections should be flanged as close to the vessel d. Cathodic protection and grounding features.
as practical to permit installation of blinds. During the design e. Jacketed or heated piping.
and installation stages consideration should be given to f. Corrosion under insulation and supports on piping.
access to the flanges for blinding. g. Special velocity effects (corrosion, erosion, vibration,
noise, water hammer, and static electricity).
5.4.2.2 Block Valves h. Special coatings and insulation.
i. Dead leg potential for water accumulation and freezing or
Where large volumes of flammable liquid are contained in corrosion.
process vessels, block valves should be installed on connec- j. Piping specification “breaks” (transition points).
tions below the liquid level. This will permit shutoff of fuel
flow if downstream piping or equipment become involved in Consideration should be given to minimization of
a fire. unshielded flangeless fittings, victaulic couplings or long bolt
flanges. When exposed to fire long bolts can expand and
allow flange connections to loosen.
Failure of small piping connections to mechanical equip-
ment has caused numerous refinery fires. However, adequate
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10 API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2001

bleeders and vents must be provided to permit removal of Process bypasses on compressor systems require special
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water from the system during startup to provide adequate design considerations, such as high temperature alarms, shut-
purging of air from the system and to allow verification that downs, and recycle coolers for over temperature conditions
out-of-service equipment has been drained and depressured. resulting from recycling. Vibration should be monitored for
Valves on these small connections should be located as major pumps and compressors. For critical equipment, con-
close as possible to the takeoff points and sized to provide sideration should also be given to providing automatic and/or
resistance to vibration and accidental breakage. Where vibra- remote shutdown ability.
tion is a concern, suitable bracing should be provided and Small screwed connections to pumps and compressors are
all-welded construction should be considered. Where prone to fatigue and should be eliminated, where possible, or
screwed connections are used, backwelding up to the first seal welded if elimination is not possible.
block valve may be desirable. Small diameter drain piping
associated with valves should incorporate threaded plugs as a 5.4.2.7 Gas Fueled Engines
safeguard against leaks.
Generally, gas fueled internal combustion reciprocating
5.4.2.5 Purging Systems engines are provided with automatic shutdown controls based
on low lube oil pressure, high jacket water temperatures, and
In the design of processing equipment, incorporating an engine overspeed. In some instances, shutdown controls are
inert purging system may be desirable. This system prevents provided in case of vibration or of a high liquid level in the
flammable mixtures from being present by excluding air from suction knockout drum.
equipment during unit start-ups and by purging equipment of The location of the air intake to gas engines should be con-
hydrocarbons prior to maintenance and repair work. Steam, figured to minimize the possibility of pulling in hydrocarbon
nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and flue gas are common materials vapors. To prevent the entry of fuel gas, the air piping should
used for purging. Work practice procedures should address be vented near the engine when it is not in use. There have
the inherent oxygen deficiency hazards to personnel of inert been recorded incidents in which starting air system explo-
gases. sions resulted from accumulation of lubricating oil in the air
Purging facilities should be installed on fired heaters and piping receiver and from the backup of fuel gas from the
other fired equipment to ensure removal of flammable vapors engine.
from the firebox before lightoff. Proper purging procedures
should be developed and followed, since lack of sufficient 5.4.2.8 Fired Equipment
purging can be a contributing cause of fired heater and boiler
explosions. Verification of adequate purge flow provides a API Std 560 and NFPA 85 should be used as references in
safeguard of key importance. the design of fired heaters and boilers.
Fired equipment such as process heaters and boilers has
5.4.2.6 Pumps and Compressors potential for mechanical failure resulting from harsh operat-
ing conditions. The following should be considered in the
Proper design of pumps and compressors, along with design of this equipment:
proper installation in conformance to design, can significantly
minimize the chance of process area fires. Reference should a. Fired equipment provides ignition sources and should be
be made to API Stds 610, 617 and 618 listed in Appendix A. located on the periphery of the unit with additional spacing
An operating compressor can be seriously damaged by liq- from process equipment.
uid carryover. To prevent such carryover, suction and inter- b. Fuel systems should be designed for positive isolation
stage knockout drums should be provided. High-level alarms when the equipment is shut down, to prevent fuel accumula-
and shutdown devices may also be needed. tion in the firebox and a possible explosion on start-up.
The design of compressor systems should provide for the c. The firebox should be designed with air, nitrogen or steam
removal of air. Vents should be provided on the distance purging so that any accumulated hydrocarbon vapors can be
pieces of reciprocating compressors to avoid blowing gas into purged from the firebox prior to start-up.
the compressor crankcase in the event of packing leakage. d. The fuel system should be designed to prevent flameout
Vents should be located to eliminate the potential for pockets mishaps from temporary loss of fuel through the use of pilots,
which would not allow all air to be expelled from the system. minimum flow bypasses, or automatic shutdowns.
The flammability and toxicity of the released gases will deter- e. There should be instrumentation to detect hazardous situa-
mine the safest location for the discharge point of such vents. tions (loss of process flow, low fuel pressure, loss of
Drainage from suction and discharge bottles, suction combustion air, etc.) and to shut down fuel to the furnace as
knockout drums, distance piece drains, and gas engine fuel required. A shutdown system should be separate from the
gas knockout drums should be routed to safe disposal points. control system.

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FIRE PROTECTION IN REFINERIES 11

f. Surface drainage should be designed to prevent flow of loading rack fires is to stop product flow to the rack.
liquid from the furnace toward other process equipment and Because valves at the loading manifold may be inaccessible
from other process equipment to the furnace. under certain fire conditions, there should be facilities
g. Remote isolation should be considered for process streams which can block off the product lines to the rack from a
being heated in fired heaters. remote location. These facilities may include remote pump
shutdown; remotely operated block valves in the product
5.4.2.9 Utility Systems lines; block valves in the lines at a short distance from the
The contamination of utility systems, such as steam, air, rack that can be readily reached by the operator; and alarms
water, fuel gas, and inert gas could result in serious safety or other communications which can notify other personnel
problems. The most probable sources of contamination are to expeditiously block out the rack. API Std 2610 Design,
utility connections joined to process equipment. Permanent Construction, Operation, Maintenance & Inspection of Ter-
connections should be avoided whenever possible. Water minal and Tank Facilities provides information for both
lines coming from cooling light hydrocarbon service should truck and rail loading facilities.
have vent headers installed for surge protection and to allow In addition, static electricity may be an ignition source
venting of light hydrocarbon contamination prior to entry of when materials are loaded at temperatures above their flash
the water stream into cooling water towers; other means of points or when “switch loading” occurs. Normal precautions
surge protection may also be used. include electrical bonding to facilitate relaxation of static
If the utility is used in processing, at least one check valve charges, procedural control of fill rates and techniques (such
and a block valve (preferably “double-block-and-bleed”) as avoiding splash filling, bottom loading, and continuity of
should be installed at the connection. This arrangement can fill lines) and review of facilities (such as filtration) to mini-
reduce the likelihood of a backflow intrusion of hydrocarbon if mize static charge build-up. Refer to API RP 2003 for a dis-
utility pressure is lost.
cussion of static electricity phenomena.
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If the utility is required only when the equipment is out of


service, such as for flushing, purging, or regeneration of cata-
lyst, the utility connections should be blinded or discon- 5.4.2.11 Storage Tanks
nected. Should the utility be provided for intermittent or Design and management of storage tank facilities has been
emergency use, double block valves with open bleeders and a addressed by API and other industry bodies in a number of
check valve should be installed. All utility connections should standards. API 620 and 650 address design of tanks while
be adequately identified. Check valves should be used at API Std 2610 discusses design and operation of tank facili-
multi-service utility “hose station” headers. ties. Along with environmental concerns a major consider-
Plant air systems have experienced fires from the accu-
ation in the design of storage tank installations is reducing fire
mulation of lube oil. Air systems should be designed to per-
risk. Risk reduction methods include: storing volatile materi-
mit periodic cleaning to remove accumulated lube oil. The
als in floating roof or blanketed tanks, control and contain-
use of fire-resistant lubricants in air compressor crankcases
ment of spills (NFPA 30) and protecting against overfill (API
should be considered. In new designs it may be possible to
specify oil-free compressors. Proper design and mainte- RP 2350 Overfill Protection for Petroleum Storage Tanks);
nance can eliminate excessive discharge temperatures maintenance of tank integrity (API Std 653 Tank Inspection,
caused by the air compressor and by fouling of the air cool- Repair, Alteration, and Reconstruction); proper arrangement
ing system. Instrument and plant air systems might become and spacing of tanks (NFPA 30); and providing fire control
contaminated with hydrocarbon if the compressor air and extinguishment equipment and systems (API RP 2021
intakes are located too close to potential sources of hydro- Management of Atmospheric Storage Tank Fires).
carbon releases; the location of air intakes can be addressed Typical storage areas may contain atmospheric, pressur-
in process safety reviews. ized, refrigerated, or heated tankage. Additional API and
If fuel gas is burned in fired heaters, suitable knockout NFPA standards listed in the references or Bibliography
facilities (and line heat tracing where climate dictates) should address these more specialized storage facilities. Typically,
be provided to prevent the carryover of liquid condensate into large scale bulk storage is located in adjacent tank farms with
burners. Fuel line block valves should be located at a suffi- smaller process tanks distributed throughout various areas
cient distance from fired heaters to permit remote shutdown associated with process batteries.
in case of fire. Detailed information on mechanical design, fabrication,
and nondestructive examination of storage tanks, and protec-
5.4.2.10 Loading Racks
tive systems can be found in API Stds 620 and 650. It is not
Historically, a leading cause of loading rack fires has within the scope of this document to discuss issues which are
been overfilling. The most important aspect of controlling covered in detail by referenced standards.

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12 API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2001

5.4.3 Process Control Systems Prevailing wind direction is generally unreliable. However,
facilities with the potential for release of flammable or toxic
The design and methods used to provide control, as well as
materials should include an awareness of prevailing wind
the accuracy and reliability of the instrumentation, affect the
conditions in order to reduce the chance of ignition or expo-
safe operation of the refinery. Reliable measurement of pres-
sure while taking note of the seasonal variance of prevailing
sure, temperature, flow, and level are important in preventing
wind direction. Wind socks can help evaluate conditions if
fires resulting from loss of containment. Instrumentation
there should be a release.
should be designed to facilitate routine testing. A review
should be made of the desired action of each controller in
5.5.2 Availability of Water
case of air or electrical failure to determine whether the valve
should fail open or closed or should remain in its existing Availability of sufficient fire water and process water from
position. Guidelines for installation of alarms, recorders, and municipal or natural resources are important requirements
shutdown systems must consider employee safety and equip- when considering the location of a refinery. Further details on
ment protection. The suitable positioning of such instruments fire water supply are discussed in Section 6.2.
can minimize risk when emergencies arise.
Consideration should be given to the use of an alarm prior- 5.5.3 Supplementary Local Fire Protection
itization system, since the number of alarms that may be acti-
vated under upset conditions can be high. The need for The availability and resources available from local public
independent control signals on critical instruments also or private fire departments should be investigated.
should be considered. Well-equipped public fire departments can be of valuable
Plain glass or other types of rotameter and gage glasses assistance. Generally, these departments do not train in fight-
that are vulnerable to mechanical or fire damage should be ing large petroleum fires so sharing of training facilities and
avoided in hydrocarbon or hazardous chemical services. experience can be mutually beneficial. Mutual aid organiza-
tions, including other refineries or allied plants located in the
Guides to the installation and design of process measuring
same area, should be investigated. Members of such mutual
equipment are provided by the Instrument Society of America
aid organizations frequently have specialized equipment
(ISA); NFPA Furnace and Boiler Codes; and ASME Boiler
designed for industrial use and have proven beneficial at loca-
and Pressure Vessel Codes.
tions where they have been put into effective operation. The
availability of these organizations can influence the amount of
5.5 LOCATION
private fire protection equipment and staffing required. These
The location of a refinery ideally will provide an area of frequently function as part of an LEPC (Local Emergency
usable land ample for safe spacing of all facilities, with an Planning Committee, an organization mandated by SARA
allowance for future expansion. Consideration should be Title III), a local industrial association or a group operating as
given to the nature of adjacent property and its relative loca- part of CAER (Community Awareness and Emergency
tion to the refinery, since refineries may expose these proper- Response Code of Responsible Care), an initiative of the
ties to a variety of potential hazards. Conversely, since American Chemistry Council.
adjacent properties can also expose the refinery to different
types of hazards, those potential hazards should be taken into 5.6 LAYOUT
consideration in locating the refinery. For example, the loca-
The layout of equipment will vary widely, depending on
tion of neighboring airports and the prescribed landing pat-
topography, types of units and equipment to be installed, and,
terns of aircraft could present collision hazards. Location
to some extent, the company operating methods. However, in
should be considered in conjunction with proposed layout of
developing the overall layout of a refinery from a fire protec-
facilities [Section 5.6].
tion standpoint, it is important to consider the location, spac-
ing, and arrangement of all the various facilities to be
5.5.1 Climate and Geography
installed.
Natural perils such as windstorms, floods, and earthquakes New facilities should be arranged so that, in the event of a
can create fire hazards. The frequency and severity of these fire or explosion, the potential for personnel exposures is kept
events should be taken into consideration when designing to a minimum. API RP 752 provides guidance for location of
refinery systems. For example, certain areas subject to poten- process plant buildings. Additional guidance can be found in
tial earthquakes require special bracing of equipment. Areas the AIChE CCPS book Guidelines for Facility Siting and
subject to extreme cold and heavy snow may require special Layout. The layout should provide accessibility for firefight-
designs to prevent equipment failure due to freezing or exces- ing and a degree of area isolation to prevent fire spread within
sive snow loading, along with the resultant fire hazards asso- a unit. Consideration should be given to potential impact on
ciated with those conditions. neighboring property. The USA EPA requires evaluation of
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FIRE PROTECTION IN REFINERIES 13

“worst case scenarios” for both chemical and flammable g. Access for construction and maintenance.
releases. Review of existing facility studies may provide use- h. Affect on (or from) neighboring installations (community,
ful information for evaluating potential community impact of adjacent industry, public roads, heaters, tankage, etc.).
new and existing facilities. The EPA criteria include the fol- i. Future expansions.
lowing for off-site consequences.
For flammable substances, EPA uses as the endpoints: Decisions on distances between storage of flammable and
• Overpressure of 1 pound per square inch (psi) for vapor combustible liquids and process areas require consideration
cloud explosions, of many of the same factors as the decision on distances
between process units. Tank dikes provide primary protec-
• Radiant heat of 5 kilowatts per square meter (kW/m2 or
tion. Where possible, consideration should be given to locat-
equivalent dose) for fireballs or pool fires, or
ing process areas on ground higher than tankage so that in the
• Lower flammability limit (LFL) for vapor clouds.
event of a tank incident the topography would prevent major
It is important to recognize that any of these off-site end-
tankage spills, frothovers, or boilovers from gravitating into
point situations represents a very significant on-site incident.
the process area. See Section 3 for definitions, Section 5.6.7
The typical rectangular or block layout provides many
for further discussion of spacing of equipment and NFPA 30
advantages. It can provide off-site locations for process pip-
for minimum storage tank spacing (from one another, public
ing, service lines, and fire main systems. In addition, future
fence lines or important facility structures).
expansions can be completed with a minimum of disruption
Decisions on the separation distances between the areas
to existing operations. Roadways that separate the blocks pro-
handling LPG (storage and process areas) and other areas
vide excellent fire breaks and facilitate the movement and
require careful consideration. A release and explosion at one
operation of firefighting equipment. Section 5.6.4 discusses
of these storage areas can produce an overpressure causing
further road access considerations.
damage several hundred feet away. See API Std 2510 and
NFPA 58 for further spacing information.
5.6.1 Drainage
When a new refinery layout is planned, preventing the 5.6.3 Process Plant Buildings
spread of fire must be considered. Suitable drainage must be
provided to prevent the spread of major spills from one area Wherever possible, buildings not directly involved with
to another and to adequately control surface drainage and hydrocarbon processing should be separated from process
refinery waste water. The natural slope of the land can often areas, storage areas, loading facilities and other hydrocarbon
be used effectively in the development of an adequate drain- handling equipment. For several reasons, including the need
age system. Ideally storage facilities should be down grade for unit surveillance, maintenance and process control during
from process areas. Windstorm and flood data must be used emergencies, some process plant buildings are located in or
along with potential fire water usage in determining proper near hydrocarbon processing or handling areas. For informa-
drainage system requirements. tion on managing risks associated with these process plant
buildings, see API RP 752 Management of Hazards Associ-
ated with Location of Process Plant Buildings and publica-
5.6.2 Spacing of Process Units
tions from the American Society of Civil Engineers and the
The spacing and arrangement of equipment depends AIChE Center for Chemical Process Safety.
upon the type of process unit, the kinds of materials han-
dled, the design philosophy, and the method of operation in 5.6.4 Roads
a given refinery. In planning the layout, consideration must
be given to safety, environmental impact, constructability, The design of adequate roads for transportation and com-
economy, operability, and efficiency of process and mainte- munication is important in fire protection. Access to all refin-
nance operations. ery areas should be assured by roads wide enough for
Decisions on spacing between process units should take emergency vehicle access, positioning, and egress.
into account several factors. These can include: Because it may be necessary to block certain roads in
emergencies, two or more approaches to each refinery area
a. Exposure to fire radiation. are desirable. Turning radii should allow adequate space for
b. Exposure to possible explosion overpressure. mobile equipment to clear pipe supports and equipment.
c. Access for firefighting equipment. Pipe racks and other road crossings should be designed to
d. Maintenance requirements of one unit while operating provide adequate overhead clearance for emergency and
another, including activities such as unrestricted hot work. other vehicles.
e. Business interruption potential and the relative value of Roads through tank fields should be well drained and pro-
units involved. vided with sufficient turnouts. Slightly elevated roads may be
f. Prevailing wind direction. necessary in areas subject to flooding. Pre-fire planning for
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14 API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2001

storage tank areas should consider access for placing fire equipment from wind, rain and snow. Processing equipment
trucks and high capacity foam monitors (see API RP 2021). should be located as far from ignition sources as possible.
The location of public or private main roads relative to pro- When process equipment is located indoors, suitable venti-
cess equipment should be considered because motor vehicles lation should be provided to prevent the accumulation of
can be ignition sources. vapors in the event of a leak. NFPA 30 provides additional
guidance on ventilation design.
5.6.5 Egress
5.6.6.2 Pumps and Compressors
For personnel safety reasons, adequate means of egress
(exit) should be provided from all buildings, process areas, Rotating equipment such as pumps and compressors is
and elevated structures. The basic concepts for all areas more susceptible to accidental releases than most other equip-
include: ment. Therefore, from a fire protection standpoint, it is prefer-
able to locate this type of equipment away from ignition
a. Provide a sufficient number of exits.
sources. Pumps handling hydrocarbons should be carefully
b. Arrange exits to permit safe egress during emergencies. located, avoiding areas below pipe alleys, major vessels, air
c. Design exits commensurate with the hazards. coolers, and other critical equipment. Where this cannot be
d. Provide unobstructed egress paths. avoided, consideration of fixed fire protection systems is
e. Provide obvious exits. appropriate (see API RP 2030). Additional spacing should be
f. Provide adequate lighting. given to mechanical equipment handling flammable liquids
g. Provide fire alarm where fires may not be obvious to the near or above their autoignition temperature and the use of
occupants. fixed protection considered.
h. Ensure compliance with applicable codes and regulations.
5.6.6.3 Instrumentation
A review of the need for a second means of egress from
elevated structures should take into consideration the fol- When possible, instrument control cables for critical
lowing: instrumentation should be routed underground or above
ground through low-risk areas. This will reduce the chance of
a. Frequency and number of personnel on the elevated
a minor fire causing an emergency shutdown, and will allow
structures.
for an orderly shutdown in the event of a major fire. Fire
b. Type, volume and pressure of the hydrocarbon sources
proofing protection should be considered when passing criti-
that could restrict egress in the event of a fire.
cal cable trays or conduit through areas with a higher poten-
c. Availability of fire suppression equipment to immediately
tial for fire.
quench a fire and safeguard the exit routes.
d. Height of the structures and the ability of personnel to
5.6.6.4 Vulnerability to Fire Damage
move laterally away from the fire hazard.
The vulnerability of certain types of equipment to fire dam-
5.6.6 Location of Equipment Within Process Units age is an important layout consideration. For example, the
thin metal which improves efficiency of air fin coolers
Equipment on a refinery process unit can be arranged in
increases their vulnerability to external flame exposure com-
many ways, each having its own advantages and disadvan- pared to thick-shelled tubular water exchangers. Where possi-
tages. Safety, economy, operability, and ease of mainte- ble, vulnerable equipment should be located away from
nance must be considered in locating each item within the pumps handling materials at temperatures above their autoi-
unit. The relative importance of these considerations varies gnition temperature.
with each item, process unit, and refinery, and must be eval-
uated for each case with equipment located accordingly.
5.6.7 Spacing of Equipment Outside of
Adequate spacing between equipment should minimize the
Process Units
spread of fire. Consideration should be given to access for
fire suppression. 5.6.7.1 Atmospheric Tank Storage
Generally, atmospheric tankage is intended only for stor-
5.6.6.1 Process Areas
age of stocks which, at storage temperature, have a true vapor
Areas containing hydrocarbon processing equipment pressure less than atmospheric pressure. The location and
should preferably be located outdoors, allowing open ventila- arrangement of tanks will generally be governed by topogra-
tion to dissipate the leaked or spilled vapors. Experience has phy, character of nearby structures, type of stocks to be
shown that fires and explosions have been prevented or mini- stored, shipping facilities, process flow, routing to tankage,
mized when only a roof and partial wall are used to protect and refinery operating conditions.
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FIRE PROTECTION IN REFINERIES 15

From a fire protection standpoint, decisions on the layout 5.6.7.4 Loading Racks
and spacing of tanks within a tank farm should take into
As with other process operations, loading racks should be
account several factors. These include:
separated from other refinery equipment so that fires associ-
a. Characteristics of the stored product. ated with either the rack or the adjacent unit will not spread to
b. Size of the tanks. the other from their point of origin.
c. Spill control, impounding or secondary containment con-
sistent with NFPA 30. 5.6.7.5 Marine Terminal Facilities
d. Maximum potential fire radiation.
Marine terminals are vitally important to the continued
e. Boilover potential for crude oil and other viscous oil operation of some refineries. The location of marine terminal
storage. facilities is dependent on the condition of the waterway. How-
f. Fixed fire protection provided. ever, since these terminals are potentially subject to large
g. Access for firefighting & emergency response equipment. petroleum spills, consideration should be given to providing
h. Business interruption consequences. clear space between docks for firefighting access. Refer to the
i. Prevailing wind direction. OCIMF International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers and Ter-
j. Distances from adjoining properties where buildings may minals for further information on layout and design of marine
later be constructed. terminals.
k. Future expansions.
5.6.7.6 Cooling Towers
Spacing between major tankage and process units should
be maximized. For additional information and minimum Cooling towers can be vital to the operation of several pro-
spacing requirements see NFPA 30. cess units. Since they are potentially susceptible to fire, some
Hydrocarbon pumps and main control valves should be of the same considerations that are used in determining spac-
located outside of the diked area. ing between process areas should be used in determining the
location of cooling towers.
5.6.7.2 Pressurized Tank Storage When determining the location of cooling towers wind
drift should be considered. This is because water vapor from
Major releases or fires impacting aboveground storage of
cooling towers can cause equipment corrosion and poor visi-
LPG materials in large vessels operating above 15 pounds per
bility. Water mist “drift” also has the potential for freezing on
square inch gauge pressure has the potential for significant
roads and other areas in cold climate locations. Preferably,
impact, including BLEVEs, if tankage has fire impingement.
cooling towers will be located downwind of process areas,
Decisions on separation distances between LPG storage and
control rooms, and instrument air dryers.
areas such as process units and buildings require careful con-
sideration of the explosion potential of these storage vessels;
5.7 FIREPROOFING
explosions can cause damage several hundred feet from the
storage area. Therefore, it is advisable that these installations While location and spacing are of substantial importance in
be located as far as practical from major process areas. Refer minimizing the degree of equipment involvement in a fire,
to API Std 2510 for minimum spacing requirements, API additional protective measures still may be necessary. One of

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2510A for additional LPG fire protection considerations, API the key protective measures is the capacity of equipment and
752 for issues dealing with structures and NFPA 58 for gen- its support structure to maintain their integrity during a fire.
eral LPG guidance. The purpose of fireproofing is to permit the emergency shut-
Pumps, piping manifolds, and extraneous aboveground down of a unit, restrict the addition of fuel to a fire, and pro-
piping should be located outside the dike or spill wall area tect personnel and equipment from the effects of equipment
surrounding the pressure vessels. or support failure during a fire. See API Publ 2218 for details
on the design and application of fireproofing in hydrocarbon
5.6.7.3 Pipelines processing and storage areas. Some jurisdictions have spe-
cific specification requirements for fireproofing of LPG ves-
Areas of potential fire exposure should be avoided when
sels.
routing main refinery pipelines. Hydrocarbon piping from an
offsite facility (such as storage) or from a unit that will
5.8 PRESSURE RELIEF AND FLARE SYSTEMS
remain in operation should not be routed through a unit that
can be independently shut down for overall maintenance. For the design of pressure-relieving systems, refer to API
Piping on sleepers should not be exposed at drainage ditches RP 520 and 521 and Std 2000. The design of flare facilities is
or trenches where oil may exist. Where pipelines cross drain- discussed in the API Manual on Disposal of Refinery Wastes,
age ditches, flanged or threaded joints should be avoided. Volume on Atmospheric Emissions. For requirements on safety

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16 API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2001

valve installation, set pressures, and valve arrangement, refer designed without “pockets” and sloped toward liquid knock-
--``,,,`,,```,,`,,,,`,`,`,`,,`-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

to Section VIII, “Unfired Pressure Vessels,” of the ASME out drums to avoid the accumulation of liquid that may cause
Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code. Subsequent discussions of surging, plugging, or freezing.
design will be limited to problems associated with fire and If a closed emergency relief system serves more than one
explosion risks involving pressure-relief or flare facilities. unit, it may be necessary to isolate sections of the system
when individual units are shut down. Therefore, the location
5.8.1 Relief Valves of adequate facilities for blinding or isolating the unit should
be examined. When isolating a unit, the integrity of overpres-
Safety relief valves are provided to prevent overpressure of
sure protection for other units should be in accordance with
refinery equipment in emergencies created by operational
relevant API or ASME standards.
errors, equipment failures, and fire and to ensure the safe dis-
When safety-relief valves discharge to the atmosphere, vent
posal of released materials. Normally, relief valves that
stacks should terminate above adjacent equipment. Otherwise,
release liquid hydrocarbons should discharge into a closed
localized overheating of nearby process vessels might result
disposal system. Where only hydrocarbon vapor is vented,
from radiation or convective heating if the valve should open
relief valves may discharge directly to the atmosphere if cer-
and vapors ignite during a fire or other abnormal condition.
tain conditions are met. These include the following:
Drainage on the discharge risers of atmospheric safety
a. Conformance with relevant environmental regulations for valves should be designed to reduce the likelihood of prob-
emergency releases. lems. If drains become clogged condensed hydrocarbons
b. Low toxicity. from leaking safety valves can accumulate and subsequently
c. Temperature below autoignition. be blown over the unit if the valves release. If the material
d. Dispersion of released material based on discharge veloc- reaches an ignition source, a fire could result. If water accu-
ity, molecular weight, condensing temperature and other mulates in the vent stack, freezing may occur, either as a
physical properties of the material. result of low ambient temperatures or from the refrigeration
e. Proper distances between point of release and personnel process caused by rapid evaporation of leaking low boiling
areas. point hydrocarbons.
Drains should be installed at the bottom of the riser. Care
Safety relief valves should be tested at scheduled intervals should be taken with regard to drain orientation so that, under
to determine whether or not they will function at the desig- fire conditions, any burning vapor discharged from the valve
nated pressure. The test interval will vary from several opening will not impinge on equipment. Installation of
months to several years, depending upon the cleanliness of elbows in the drain to direct any released vapor away from
the service, the severity of operating conditions, the results of nearby vessels or piping can reduce this possibility.
previous inspections, and the existence of legal requirements. Vent stacks that discharge at elevated locations are some-
The frequency of the test should be established for each valve times equipped with snuffing steam to extinguish fires caused
on the basis of operating experience, engineering judgment by lightning ignition of relief valve leakage. See API RP 520,
and industry practice (see API RP 576). When block valves Part 2, for additional information.
are installed below relief valves many facilities require that
they be car-sealed or locked open while the unit is in opera- 5.8.2 Flare Systems
tion. If the valve is closed so a PRV can be removed for test-
ing or service, equivalent overpressure protection is required Flare systems provided for the safe disposal of gaseous
while the unit is in operation. Often a replacement PRV is refinery wastes are the subject of API RP 521. Depending on
installed and the block valve reopened. local environmental constraints, these systems can be used
Where relief valve discharges are routed to a closed sys- for:
tem, headers should be sized to handle the maximum flow a. Venting during startup or shutdown.
resulting from any single contingency without developing b. Venting of excess refinery gas.
excessive back pressures on the relief valves connected to the c. Handling emergency releases from safety valves, blow-
system. Where safety relief valves are connected into closed
down, and depressuring systems.
emergency relief systems, the grouping of equipment within
one fire risk area may influence the size of the relief facility Designs vary considerably, depending upon the type of
piping required. By providing reasonable separations connected equipment and the complexity of the overall sys-
between groups of equipment, the quantity of materials tem. Though specific design details are not discussed in this
released into the flare systems under fire conditions can be publication, some potential problem areas are reviewed.
reduced. Fire-related electric power failure should be Because flare systems are open to the atmosphere and a
included in flare system contingency analysis. continuous ignition source exists at the end of the line, inter-
Conditions under which the system can become plugged, nal system explosions are possible if appropriate safeguards
blocked or frozen should be avoided, and piping should be are not in place. The most positive approach to eliminating

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FIRE PROTECTION IN REFINERIES 17

this hazard is to adequately purge the system to remove and create hazards to personnel working on these elevated
trapped air before the pilots are ignited. Provisions should be structures at the time of a flare release. More information on
made for the safe lighting of these pilots, either by electrical flares is provided in API RP 537 Flare Details for General
ignitors or by ignition pipes where flammable mixtures can Refinery and Petrochemical Service.
propagate the flame to the pilots. Another important consideration in the design of flare sys-
Vent connections or bleeders that could allow air to be tems is the adequacy of drum seals that might have open
released into the flare system should be avoided. However, sewer connections. Liquid levels are frequently maintained in
the total elimination of air from flare systems may not always drums by a loop-style seal. The highest pressure that may
be practical. To minimize the risk, it is common practice to exist in these drums under maximum flare release conditions
either continually inject a fuel-gas purge or to install liquid should be determined. The seal leg should be of adequate
seals as flashback devices to limit flame propagation through depth to prevent displacement of seals under the highest pres-
the system. For this purpose, liquid seals are preferable and sure in order to avoid release of hydrocarbons at grade level
the use of flame arrestors is discouraged because the small or to the sewer.
passages in flame arrestors are subject to fouling that may
cause excessive pressure drops during periods of high flow. 5.9 DRAINAGE, CONTAINMENT, AND WASTE
The design of purging systems should consider the possibility DISPOSAL
of air ingress into the flare system from the flare stack when
using lighter-than-air purge gases. Dry molecular seals can be The design of drainage and the determination of the means
used to minimize purge gas rates. and capacity required to control refinery wastes are of prime
Another area of concern is the possibility of liquid carry- importance in minimizing the size of liquid hydrocarbon
over from the flare stacks that may spray burning liquid over a fires. Maximum fire water runoff, rain runoff, and spill size
widespread area and start fires at grade level. The size of requirements should be considered in designing drainage and
knockout drums must be based upon the equipment that dis- containment systems.

--``,,,`,,```,,`,,,,`,`,`,`,,`-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---
charges to the drum, the rates of liquid entry, the duration of a
release, and whether or not blowdown or liquid pumpout 5.9.1 Spill and Waste Disposal for Process Areas
streams are routed to the flare stacks. From a fire protection standpoint, the purpose of drain-
Consideration should be given to the provision of a age and containment systems in process areas is to mini-
high-level alarm and liquid pump-out on the flare knock out mize the area subject to hydrocarbon spills and to direct
drum. Maximum allowable liquid levels must be established those spills away from critical equipment. Process areas are
to ensure adequate vapor space to avoid entrainment of liquid generally paved with a hard surfacing material. The pave-
when safety valves operate. System safety reviews should ment should slope toward catch basins located in open areas
consider the effect on downstream storage of potentially so that spills will flow away from the equipment rather than
high-temperature effluent from the knock out drum. under it. All spill and waste disposal systems must consider
The location and height of flare stacks should be based social and regulatory environmental constraints during their
upon the heat release potential of a flare, the possibility of per- design.
sonnel exposure during flaring, and the exposure of surround- Fire stops or water seals should be provided throughout
ing plant equipment. Where personnel are expected to work in industrial sewer or drainage ditch systems to prevent vapors
the vicinity of a flare without restriction on the length of expo- from material released into the sewer system from spreading
sure, 500 BTU/hr/ft2 (1.58 kW/m2) radiant heat exposure level to other areas. Sealed sections of sewer systems should be
has been established by some companies as an acceptable vented at suitable points to prevent pressure buildup and the
limit. The US EPA specifies radiant heat of 5 kw/m2 for 40 blowing of seals if light materials should enter the system.
seconds as the exposure level of concern for RMP offsite con-
The sealing and venting of such systems is of particular
sequence analysis. However, published sources suggest that
importance where drains from a building are connected to an
radiant heat levels up to 2500 BTU/hr-ft2 (7.9 kW/m2) may be
industrial sewer system.
tolerated for 5 to 15 seconds if the only concern is short-time
Below-grade trenches, compressor or pump pits, and build-
exposure of personnel to permit escape from the area under
ing basements within process areas should be avoided where
emergency release conditions.
practical. These areas present corrosion and housekeeping
Note: Sources of tolerable short term radiant heat exposure examples problems and provide a place for trapping flammable vapors.
are CCPS Guidelines for Evaluating the Characteristics of Vapor Open refinery separators are generally located away from
Cloud Explosions, Flash Fires & BLEVEs, p. 181, and Fire Protec- process and storage equipment. However, this may not
tion Engrg, 3rd ed, pp. 2-127 [Dinman “E”].
always be feasible, so care should be taken to minimize locat-
The location of flares in the vicinity of tall refinery equip- ing ignition sources near these open separators because,
ment should be examined. Flames or hot combustion prod- under some conditions, flammable vapors could be released
ucts can be carried by the wind, which could cause problems from their surfaces.

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18 API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2001

Discharges to the sewer from process equipment han- phone and radio systems which rely on electric line power
dling volatile hydrocarbons can be a mechanism for vapor should be considered during utility reliability studies.
release. If a level controller were to fail in an open position
it could be a source of vapor in the immediate process area, 5.10.1 Electric Power
as well as throughout the sewer system. Vapor accumula- API Recommended Practice 500, NFPA 30, NFPA 497A,
tion can pressurize sewers, resulting in blown seals and and NFPA 497B should be used as guides in determining the
vapor release at other points. Where such potential exists, proper electrical area classification. Local electrical codes or
suitable instrumentation or a disengaging drum should be

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the National Electric Code should be used for design and
provided. installation within the specific classified areas. Small units
can use NFPA 497A where only small amounts of hydrocar-
5.9.2 Diking and Waste Disposal for Storage Areas bons are present.
Power lines may be installed overhead or underground,
For low-flash-point refined oil and crude oil storage tanks,
depending upon applicable regulations and local conditions at
dikes are usually provided to prevent oil spills from involving
the site. In a relatively unobstructed area such as a tank farm,
other facilities. The usable volumetric capacity of the diked
a pole or tower system may be the most practical. An under-
area should not be less than the greatest amount of liquid that ground system using conduit or trench-laid armored cable
can be released from the largest tank within the diked area, may be preferable in congested areas.
assuming a full tank. See NFPA 30 for requirements of dike
Pole line and underground systems should be located,
design and arrangement.
where possible, along roads or pipelines to avoid the need for
Dikes are used primarily to contain tank overflows, bottom relocation in the event of future expansion.
leaks, and line failures, as well as to limit the uncontrolled The use of outdoor substations in non-hazardous areas
off-site flow of water applied during a fire. Accumulations of reduces the possibility of flammable vapor concentrations
liquid will either be limited in quantity or be removable that might occur in substation buildings from ground seepage
before the retention capacity is reached. Experience has and poorly sealed drains.
shown that, under normal conditions, it is unlikely that the In the event of fire, circuits may be subject to interference
full dike capacity would be needed. from exposure to high temperature or water drainage. This
Catastrophic tank failures are extremely unlikely. However, should be considered when locating overhead lines or when
should a total tank failure occur, the oil wave may not be con- establishing a safe location for a substation in process areas.
tained, and oil could surge over the dikes. This could also be Electric power may be purchased from a utility company
true where boilover or slopover conditions prevail. or generated in the refinery. The choice depends upon the
To permit ready movement of firefighting equipment availability and cost of reliable power purchased from a util-
across the dike, most companies restrict dike heights to about ity company. If power is purchased, it is preferable to have at
6 feet (1.8 m), although higher dikes may be permissible. least two main feeders to bring power into the refinery via
Facility policy, codes or regulations may require multiple two different routes from the utility company’s generating
stairs or ladders for access and egress from diked areas. plant. Each feeder would normally carry half the plant load,
It is advisable to develop a means of controlling drainage but each would have the capability to carry the full load.
from the dike area in the event of a fire. Pipe connections Automatic switchover, with motor controls arranged so that a
through the dikes, with valves on the exterior of the dike and momentary power loss would not result in motor shutdowns,
discharging into drainage ditches, should be an adequate could then be provided in the event of the loss of one feeder.
means of control. These valves should be kept closed except If power is generated in the refinery, the generators may be
when necessary to drain accumulated water. steam, gas turbine, or diesel driven. Where the possibility of
Multiple tanks within one diked enclosure are acceptable electric power outages exists, small engine-driven emergency
depending on tank capacity vs. dike capacity. Intermediate generators may be provided for critical electrical circuits.
dikes (curbs) may be necessary to separate tanks or groups of Emergency equipment may either be manually operated or
tanks. NFPA 30 provides additional details and presents arranged for automatic switchover upon failure of the main
impounding alternatives to diking. supply. Dependable AC power for critical electrical control
circuits may be provided by battery sets equipped with charg-
ers and static inverters.
5.10 POWER AND UTILITIES
Refinery service and utility lines, such as water, steam, 5.10.2 Steam
instrument, air, electric light, and power, should be designed
for maximum reliability. A reliable communications system If steam is used to generate electrical power, steam-gener-
also is necessary. An alternate communications system for ating facilities should be located where they will have mini-
use during an emergency may be desirable. The possibility mal exposure to external fire. The facilities should be
for service interruption of modern computerized digital tele- designed to allow automatic shutdown of non-critical steam

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FIRE PROTECTION IN REFINERIES 19

users following the loss of electric power, thereby reducing water return system. Provision for vapor disengaging and
the steam load during power failure. venting from the return system may be considered. Detection
Steam boilers may be weather-protected and installed out- of hydrocarbon leakage, location of cooling towers, and ade-
doors. When the boilers are housed, the building should be quacy of vapor dispersion should all be considered in the
constructed of fire-resistant or noncombustible material. Area design of process water cooling towers.
drainage should be designed to prevent an inflow of flamma- Measures should be taken to prevent freezing of water
ble hydrocarbons. mains that provide the necessary fire, process and service
The boiler fuel system should be designed to reduce the requirements. Interconnecting or looping of lines in vital ser-
possibility of explosion in the event of burner flame failure. vices is desirable, but process and fire water systems should
The modern, high-heat-release, fast-steaming boilers that use be separate whenever possible. If the systems are connected,
a forced draft do not allow sufficient time for the operator to precautions should be taken to prevent the loss of fire water.
determine the corrective action required in an emergency. Contamination of this fire water by process water that may
Therefore, fully automatic boiler supervisory controls with contain hydrocarbons, or additives that might cause foam
breakdown, should also be prevented. Refinery fire water sys-
continuous burner flame scanning should be considered.
tems are discussed in Section 6.2.
It is preferable that main steam lines be installed in areas
of low fire exposure, such as along roadways. A looped sys-
tem designed with division valves to permit shutoff of sec-
6 Fire Control and Extinguishing
tions and to permit steam to be supplied from two directions Equipment
is desirable. Steam lines are usually installed overhead to 6.1 GENERAL
simplify condensate drainage and insulation requirements
and to provide for pipeline expansion. It may be advisable This section discusses the general approach for fire control
to fireproof the overhead supports or to provide water cool- and extinguishment that has been successfully adopted for
ing where they are located in areas subject to severe fire use by both large and small facilities throughout the petro-
exposure. leum industry. The goal of effective fire control is to extin-
guish a fire in the shortest possible time, with no loss of life
and minimum loss of property. The exception to aggressively
5.10.3 Water
seeking rapid extinguishment is where the fuel for the fire is a
Water pumps for process, fire, and service requirements pressurized gas or liquid release which should be allowed to
should be located as close as possible to the water supply burn until the source of fuel can be shut off.
source. This will permit the use of short suction mains for A primary objective of fire-fighting is to extinguish a small
effective and reliable pump operation. Steam, electric motor, fire before it expands to become large, or to control a large
or internal combustion engine pump drives may be used, fire and protect adjacent exposures until emergency response
depending upon the reliability of the power source. Multiple staffing is sufficient to safely mount an aggressive suppres-
pumps, each using a different type of drive, often provide sion effort.
optimum reliability. Total capacity should be sized based on Most facilities have three basic types of fire-fighting equip-
normal needs and emergency scenario analysis. ment ready for immediate use:
Two important considerations are: continuous supplies of a. Fixed System: A fire protection system that is perma-
boiler feed water for steam; and cooling water to prevent nently installed and connected to a supply of extinguishing
excessive vaporization in process equipment. In an emer- agent(s). These systems may be automatically or manually
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gency, depending upon the plant design, these needs may be activated. A water spray system supplied directly by the plant
equally as important as water for fire suppression. fire water system or a gaseous clean agent system in a control
Spare engine-driven water pumps are desirable where the room or computer room are examples of fixed systems found
possibility of electric power outages exists and generation in refineries.
of refinery steam to operate water pumps can be subject to b. Semi-fixed System: A fire protection system that is per-
interruption. manently installed but not connected to a supply of
Loss of makeup water to a cooling tower could eventually extinguishing agent. These systems generally require person-
result in a sudden loss of cooling water to the process units nel to manually connect an extinguishing agent supply to the
being served. Since it is possible that a makeup water level system prior to use. One example is a tank foam system that
control valve could stick in the closed position, some refiner- terminates at a connection located at the dike wall.
ies install low-level alarms on the cooling tower basin. c. Portable Equipment: Fire suppression equipment that
Hydrocarbon vapor release is another consideration with must be moved to the site of the fire, manually assembled or
process water cooling towers. This may be caused by hydro- positioned before being put into service. It is generally stored
carbon leakage from coolers and condensers into the cooling until needed at a location accessible to its intended users.

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20 API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2001

Examples include fire trucks, fire hose, foam monitors, fire should be taken to avoid flow of a higher pressure product
extinguishers, and most fire department equipment. into a lower pressure water system and to avoid overpressure
of the vessel and piping. Water cannot be used to displace
Fire protection equipment should be kept in fully func-
refrigerated liquefied petroleum gas or liquefied natural gas
tional condition and tested periodically in accordance with
from a leaking pipeline if the product temperature is colder
facility policy and accepted procedures. In some instances,
than 32°F (0°C), or for liquids that have a temperature above
equipment may be regularly inspected by an outside service
200°F (93°C).
or agency. Proper records should be kept of each inspection
By cooling exposures and controlling fire intensity, water
(for an example see NFPA 25).
can be used effectively to control pressurized gas or liquid
fires and spill fires involving low-flash-point fuels. Water can-
6.2 WATER FOR FIRE SUPPRESSION
not be used effectively to extinguish such fires and extin-
Water is used universally as a fire-fighting agent. It serves guishment may be undesirable because of potential vapor
as a cooling, quenching, smothering, emulsifying, diluting, cloud hazards. However, experienced firefighting personnel
and displacing agent. The high latent heat of vaporization of can use water spray as very effective personal protection from
water (its high absorption of heat when converted to steam) radiant heat and flame contact to gain access to equipment so
makes it particularly valuable in fighting oil, gas, and Class A that valves can be closed, shutting off the fuel source for fire
fires. It is usually available, easily handled, and when applied suppression. And, in some conditions, firefighters can dis-
as a fog (finely divided spray) is effective and safe to use on perse moderate quantities of escaping gas or vapor using
most petroleum fires where it inhibits combustion by both water spray.
cooling and smothering (excluding oxygen). Water is the principal ingredient in fire-fighting foam;
Water is the primary agent for cooling equipment, struc- mixed with foam concentrate this is the most effective agent
tures, and tank shells that are exposed to a fire. This prevents for extinguishing large flammable liquid spill fires or tank
or reduces both heat damage to equipment and overpressure fires.
that results from overheating vessel contents.
When used as a coarse high velocity spray stream, water 6.2.1 Water Supply
can sweep pools of burning fluid out from under elevated
equipment. Extinguishment will result if the fuel surface can The required water supply for firefighting may be obtained
be cooled below the temperature at which it will give off suf- from a combination of dedicated higher-pressure fire water
ficient vapor to support combustion (fire point). The proper mains, lower-pressure processing or cooling water mains, and
way of applying water for extinguishment is in the form of a other available and reliable sources. Each important fire risk

--``,,,`,,```,,`,,,,`,`,`,`,,`-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---
spray. If a water spray is properly applied to the surface of a area should be looped with fire mains sized to supply the crit-
burning liquid hydrocarbon with a flash point above 200°F ical areas with water at the fire flow rate and pressure.
(93°C), it can produce a layer of froth on the liquid surface, The fire water system should be designed such that the fire
which will act similar to foam and smother the fire. One main sizing meets fire flow requirements throughout the
example is fighting a hot asphalt tank fire as discussed in an refinery. The demand should be based on hydraulic calcula-
appendix of API RP 2023. However, care must be used to tions for current and future demands, with a minimum fire
prevent slopover. main size calculated to deliver a minimum of 75 to 125 psig
Spills of flammable liquid that are soluble in water may, in (520 to 940 kpa) hydrant pressure at full rated demand.
some instances, be extinguished by dilution. This same The fire water system should be designed such that the fire
approach may be impossible on fires within tanks because main sizing meets fire flow requirements throughout the
overfilling may occur before sufficient dilution is achieved. refinery. The demand should be based on hydraulic calcula-
The quantity of water required to extinguish a fire by dilution tions for current and future demands, with the fire main size
varies with the solubility of the products and is generally calculated to deliver the minimum pressure and flow require-
quite large. For example, a solution of 75 percent water and ments for monitor nozzles, fixed suppression systems, and
25 percent ethyl alcohol will support combustion. As a result, fire apparatus intakes. Refer to Tables 1 and 2 for guidance on
for soluble materials it is generally impractical to extinguish establishing minimum flow and pressure requirements.
fires involving deep liquid spills and those within tanks by Gate valves should be installed to sectionalize the water
dilution with water because fire spread and tank overfilling main grid so that only part of the system will be out of ser-
may occur before sufficient dilution is achieved. vice during failures or repairs. Gate valves and buried system
Water is used as a displacement medium in leaking hydro- post indicator valves should be used and marked for easy
carbon lines. It may also be used to float liquid hydrocarbons identification.
above a leak in a tank to replace product leakage with water Fire water should be supplied by a system that is indepen-
leakage. To be effective in pressurized pipes and tanks, the dent of all other uses and be from a reliable source. If the nor-
water pressure must be greater than product pressure. Care mal source is not reliable, an emergency supply should be

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FIRE PROTECTION IN REFINERIES 21

provided from a storage tank or reservoir. If a storage tank or For more information, refer to NFPA 24 Installation of Pri-
reservoir is used for emergency water, it should normally be vate Fire Service Mains and Their Appurtenances.
kept full. The storage tank capacity should be adequate to meet
the high-pressure water requirements for a period of at least 6.2.1.1 Flow Rate Ranges for Manual Firefighting
four to six hours. It is desirable to have an adequate supply of
The minimum fire protection water supply should be capa-
makeup water available in addition to storage requirements.
ble of providing the flow rates, pressures, and duration deter-
Water sources should be of high quality and free of water mined from a pre-incident scenario analysis. The following
treatment chemicals that will be detrimental to firefighting discussion provides broad general guidance.
foam generation. Pump inlets must be adequately protected The flow rate of water required for fire protection should
from debris entering the system. The use of all possible water be calculated separately for each considered fire area within
sources for firefighting may provide large economies in con- the refinery. The fire protection water supply is normally
struction and operating costs. Sources for consideration are: sized to be capable of providing the largest calculated flow
low-pressure process mains, the public water supply, and nat- rate required for any single fire area within the facility.
ural water sources. Also, other available sources of water, Specific design criteria for firewater flow rates depend on
such as storm water drainage sewers and environmental plant design, configuration, and process hazards. The actual
ponds, should be considered. Under emergency conditions design can be determined by:
the use of cooling water tower basins can be considered. 1. providing 0.1 to 0.5 gpm/ft2 (4.1 to 20.4 lpm/m2) of
Regardless of the source, the water supply should equal the water to the fire area based on congestion and unit struc-
minimum requirement under adverse conditions. tures while considering the appropriate fire response
Fire lines, valves, hydrants, monitors, pumps, storage based on pre-incident plans and experience, or
tanks, and portable water-type extinguishers should be pro- 2. historical experience with similar facilities.
tected from freezing. Lines should be designed and installed Where the fire protection water system is intended to sup-
to avoid overstressing caused by earthquakes, settlement, ply only monitors and hose streams in support of manual fire
severe shock from mechanical impact, and damage by fire fighting and suppression, sample flow rate ranges may be
exposure. Diagrams of lines and valves should be posted at estimated using values suggested in Table 1.
key points throughout the plant, and any change or alteration
to the system should be recorded concurrent with the change. 6.2.1.2 Determining Water Flow Rates for Process
Areas

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Connections to fire-fighting systems that permit the diver-
sion of water for other purposes should be avoided. Where Where the considered fire area is totally or partially pro-
such connections are in place, procedures should be estab- tected by fixed water spray, sprinkler, or foam systems, the
lished to ensure that adequate volumes of fire water are avail- flow rate should be the sum of the flow rates required for
able when needed. proper operation of the fixed systems, plus an allowance for

Table 1—Example Water Flow Rates for Manual Fire Fighting1

Firewater Flow Ranges,


Per Minute
in Thousands of Gallons Example Flow Rate, Ranges Based on
Scenario Area of Interest (Thousands of Liters) Protected Area GPM/Ft2 or LPM/M2
Radiant heat protection 0.1 gpm/ft2 (4.1 lpm/m2)
Process areas handling flammable liquids or high pres- 4,000 to 10,000 gpm Cooling: 0.2 to 0.3 gpm/ft2 (8.2 to 12.3 lpm/m2)
sure flammable gases (15,000 to 38,000 lpm) Suppression: 0.3 to 0.5 gpm/ft2 (12.3 to 20.4 lpm/m2)
Process areas handling gases or combustible liquids 3,000 to 5,000 gpm 0.20 to 0.30 gpm/ft2
(11,000 to 19,000 lpm) (8.2 to 12.3 lpm/m2)
Tank storage of flammable and combustible liquids in See API 2021 & NFPA 11
atmospheric tanks
LPG Storage tanks and vessels See API 2510, API 2510A and NFPA 58
[250 to 500 gpm at point of impingement
by a high-velocity jet flame—API RP 2510A]
Warehouses See applicable NFPA Fire Codes
Buildings, offices, laboratories, and similar structures See applicable NFPA Fire Codes
1
Note: The total (gpm or lpm) flow required will depend on size, congestion and the needs of the exposed facilities being protected.
The specific flow rate (gpm/ft2 or lpm/m2) chosen will depend on the definition of the fire area and the fuel loading in the area.

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22 API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2001

simultaneous operation of monitors and hose streams. Where Gasoline engine drivers are not normally used for fixed
there are multiple fixed systems within the fire area, the cal- installations because of relatively high maintenance and
culated flow rate should consider whether adjacent systems lower reliability. Centrifugal pumps, including horizontal
may need to operate concurrently. split case and vertical turbine pumps, preferably with a rela-
tively flat characteristic curve, are generally used for supply-
6.2.1.3 Suggested Residual Pressure ing fire water systems. Centrifugal pumps with these
characteristics provide a steady, non-pulsating flow of water
The residual pressure required for fire protection should be at uniform pressure and can also idle against closed valves for
determined separately for each considered fire area within the a period of time without damage to the pump or connected
refinery. The required pressure should be the highest pressure
equipment. In some instances, relief valves or governors are
required by any system or piece of equipment at the delivery
provided to prevent over-pressuring the fire water system.
point where it would be operated during the fire scenario.
Ideally pumps are located in areas not likely to be impacted
Suggested residual pressures for common fire protection sys-
by a fire or explosion. Larger installations with multiple

--``,,,`,,```,,`,,,,`,`,`,`,,`-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---
tems and equipment items are shown in Table 2.
pumps typically place pumps in separate areas of the facility
The fire protection water supply and the distribution piping to reduce their vulnerability.
should be sized such that the required pressure is met at each
New fire pump installations should meet the requirements
considered fire area when flowing the required flow rate for
of NFPA 20.
that fire area.
Fire system pumps are usually divided into three catego-
6.2.1.4 Fire Water Flow Duration ries:
1. Jockey pumps that maintain sufficient pressure and
The total water supply within the refinery should be capa- have the capacity to supply first-aid hose streams that
ble of supplying the maximum flow for a period of not less might be required during emergencies or during the early
than four to six hours, consistent with projected fire scenario stages of a fire.
needs. Where the water system is supplied from a tank or res- 2. Main fire pumps that are operated, either manually or
ervoirs, the quantity of water required for fire protection
automatically, to provide the basic capacity.
should be reserved exclusively for fire protection. However,
where the tank or reservoir is automatically filled by a line 3. Pumps in standby service to provide water in the event
from a reliable, separate supply, such as from a public water of failure or demand exceeding the capacity of other
system or wells, the total quantity in storage may be reduced pumps.
by the incoming fill rate.
6.2.3 Fire Hydrants
6.2.2 Pumping Equipment The type of fire hydrant used will depend upon climatic
It is desirable to provide firewater pumps with different conditions. Standard self-draining fire hydrants meeting the
power sources for drivers to decrease the vulnerability of the American Water Works Association standards are generally
system. Most locations divide drivers between electric motors used in freezing climates.
and diesel engines. Steam turbine drivers are also used. If Fire water supply manifolds can be used instead of fire
electric power is generated on-site from the same steam sys- hydrants in non-freezing climates. Fire hydrants or headers
tem which supplies steam driven firewater pumps then the can include a variety of outlets, including large “steamer”
electric and steam pumps are subject to a “common cause” or hose connections. Hose connections should be compati-
failure. ble with those used on the hoses of the local fire department

Table 2—Suggested Residual Pressures

System or Equipment Item Desired Residual Pressure Measured at:

Calculated sprinkler, water spray or foam As determined in the system As specified in the calculations, usually
system calculations, generally between at the base of the system riser or the
75 and 125 psi (520 to 940 kpa) connection to the main.
Fixed Monitor 100 psi (690 kPa) At the monitor base.
Hydrant directly feeding hose streams 100 psi (690 kPa) At the hydrant.
Hydrant feeding a fire truck if no fixed 20 psi (138 kPa) At the hydrant.
equipment is operating

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FIRE PROTECTION IN REFINERIES 23

and mutual aid organization, or adequate adapters should water-fog) are widely used. Straight water streams are used
be provided. primarily for cooling equipment, although they have been
The number of hydrants in an area is usually determined by used effectively for sweeping burning hydrocarbon spills away
the design and type of process. The normal distance between from exposed equipment. Straight water streams are reason-
fire hydrants ranges from 150 to 300 feet (45 to 90 meters), ably good at nozzle pressures as low as 45 to 50 psig (310 to
--``,,,`,,```,,`,,,,`,`,`,`,,`-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

depending on: the fire hazard, layout of the area, water 345 kPa), and provide a longer range than water spray nozzles.
requirements, and the number of outlets on the hydrants. The Straight stream patterns are generally used when:
distance between a fire hydrant and a building or structure
that is to be protected should be at least 50 feet (15 meters), if a. Extended reach is required, particularly in high wind
possible. situations.
b. Deep penetration of the fire area is required.
6.2.4 Fire Hose and Reels c. Water quality is such that fog nozzles cannot be operated
due to plugging.
Fire hose may be categorized as attack hose or supply hose.
d. Low water pressure prohibits the use of fog nozzles.
Traditionally most refineries have utilized 21/2 in., 13/4 in., and
11/2 in. hose as their standard. Large diameter hoses (from 4, 5 It is general practice to use shutoff-type nozzles so that the
and 6 in. in diameter to 10+ in.) have growing acceptance and hose line may be controlled by the person at the nozzle. Most
application. Coordination of hose fittings and connections with water-fog combination-nozzle manufacturers recommend
local mutual aid or public resources is appropriate irrespective nozzle pressures at 100 psig (690 kPa) with functional opera-
of the sizes of hose used. tion in a range from 70 psig (485 kPa) minimum to 125+ psig
The 21/2 in. hose is used primarily for heavy cooling (860+ kPa).
streams. Three or more people are required to handle 21/2 in. When used by experienced personnel, water spray can be
hose lines, depending upon the system pressure. 21/2 in. effective for:
hose lines are suitable to supply water for small portable
ground monitors. It is general practice to carry this hose on a. Extinguishing fires involving high-flash products.
mobile equipment to reduce plant hose requirements. Some b. Chilling hot vapors and preventing ignition.
13/4 in. or 11/2 in. hose is usually carried on the mobile c. Cooling low-flash-point (gasoline and liquefied petroleum
equipment for use in tank farms or other outlying areas. gas) oil and gas fires to reduce their intensity.
Large diameter hose is used to supply high-flow mobile d. Cooling exposed equipment and preventing fire damage or
monitors such as used for tank fire suppression or for water involvement of other fuels as a result of blown gaskets and
supply to areas where a system is too small, compromised the like.
or non-existent. e. Dispersing vapors and preventing their ignition from
For rapid availability of water in process areas, permanently- nearby ignition sources.
connected hose reels and hose stations have been used exten- f. Cooling fires in light hydrocarbons service (such as gaso-
sively. These reels are usually provided with a 13/4 or 11/2 in. line) so that they may be more readily extinguished by dry
hard rubber or comparably sized fabric hose for incipient fire- chemical agents used in combination with the water supply.
fighting. The hard rubber hose on a “continuous flow” reel has g. “Frothing out” fires involving heavy viscous oils.
the advantage that it can be charged and used by one person h. Providing a protective cooling curtain for personnel who
without unreeling it entirely. However, its use is limited are operating valves or other shutoff devices.
because hydraulic pressure loss limits the length of hose to
approximately 100 feet (30 meters) to assure adequate nozzle Reference should be made to Manufacturers’ literature,
pressures. In some cases, large diameter hose provides advan- NFPA 1964 Spray Nozzles (Shutoff and Tip) and the NFPA
tages because: Fire Protection Handbook for a thorough discussion of noz-
zle types and water spray patterns, as well as water capacities,
a. Its lower friction loss reduces pumping resource require- range, and related information.
ments.
b. It minimizes personnel staffing requirements by reducing 6.2.6 Monitors and Master Stream Delivery
the need for multiple hose lays [one 5 in. LDH may carry as Devices
much water as six 21/2 in. hoses].
c. It facilitates the use of high flow rate monitors used for Monitors may be equipped with various delivery devices.
tank fire fighting. They can be mounted on trailers or pickup trucks to provide
high volume mobile master streams. Fixed monitors may be
desirable for use at spot locations. Because their area of cov-
6.2.5 Nozzles
erage is limited, fixed monitors should be carefully placed to
Combination fire hose nozzles providing water patterns provide optimum coverage. These locations should be
continuously variable from straight streams to water spray (or reviewed during both the design and the final construction

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24 API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2001

stages of a job to avoid unnecessary obstructions like piping assist in extinguishing a fire. When foam is applied by hand
and support columns. In some cases, fixed monitors are pro- lines or monitors over the rim of a tank, wind and thermal
vided with shields to protect the operator from radiant heat. updrafts frequently carry a portion of it away. As specified in
Fixed monitors can be configured to provide foam for rapid NFPA 11, foam must be applied at a sixty percent higher rate
response to leaks or spills. to compensate for this loss.
The installation of fixed monitors in an area does not nec- A few cases have been reported where the application of
essarily eliminate the need for portable monitors and hydrants foam through solid streams plunging into unignited flamma-
for hand line use, because fixed monitors may not provide ble liquids have been thought to be the source of ignition (of
complete coverage of the entire area and may possibly be an ensuing fire). The ignition has been attributed to static dis-
inaccessible during an emergency. Portable monitors can be charges resulting from the splashing and turbulence. There-
used in place of hand-held lines to reduce stress on firefight- fore, application of foam to an unignited flammable liquid
ers if mobility is not required. should be gentle. Proper application methods with portable
Special installations may require elevated monitors, remote equipment could involve use of a spray pattern or banking the
control monitors, or oscillating monitors. Elevated monitors foam stream off a backboard or structure so that the foam
can be used to protect areas inaccessible from grade because flows gently onto the surface of the liquids. Properly-
of congestion or at docks. designed fixed foam chambers on tanks have not experienced
problems with static electricity generation.
6.2.7 Water Spray Systems Foam is made by mechanical action or agitation achieved
by the turbulent mixing of atmospheric air into the foam solu-
--``,,,`,,```,,`,,,,`,`,`,`,,`-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

Water spray cooling systems can be used to reduce fire


tion of water containing liquid foam concentrate. The variety
exposure damage by keeping a water film on exposed sur-
of foam types typically used in a refinery are:
faces to absorb radiant heat. They can also be designed to
reduce fire intensity at the source. See API RP 2030 and a. Fluoroprotein (FP),
NFPA 15.
b. Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF),
6.3 FOAM c. Film forming fluoroprotein (FFFP), and
Foams for fire protection purposes are an aggregate of d. Alcohol resistant [or multipurpose] AR-AFFF or AR-
air-filled bubbles that will float on the surface of a flammable FFFP.
liquid. They are aerated solutions of water and a proper pro-
portion of foam concentrate. Foam forms a cohesive floating Factors influencing the choice of a specific foam type for
blanket on the liquid surface that extinguishes fire by smoth- use at a facility include:
ering and cooling the fuel. Foam also prevents reignition by
inhibiting vapor release, thus preventing formation of com- a. The type of product for which fire suppression may be
bustible mixtures of vapor and air. Applying a foam blanket to required.
fuel spills before ignition can prevent spills from becoming b. The type of foam concentrate stocked by potential mutual
fires. aid participants.
Foams are particularly suited for extinguishing two-dimen-
sional flammable liquid spill fires or in storage tanks where c. Sources and timing of supply from manufacturers for
the foam forms a vapor-sealing blanket that secures the area major incidents.
after extinguishment. In fires involving jetting or falling fuel,
d. Cost effectiveness of the candidate foam concentrates.
such as an overflowing tank or line flange leak, foam is effec-
tive only on the fire that arises from fuel spills and on pools e. Logistics—1% vs. 3% vs. 6% concentrates [see API RP
that form flat surfaces. Foam is not suitable for extinguishing 2021].
fires which involve flammable gases or liquids containing
large amounts of liquefied petroleum gas. The manufacturer of the foam-making equipment should
To extinguish deep tank fires or spill fires, continuous foam be consulted for the correct percentage of concentrate to be
application at no less than the required rate is critical. See used in their particular system. Proportioners should be
NFPA 11 for minimum recommended application rates. designed and set for the percentage of foam concentrate used
Higher application rates may be needed on large tanks. The to form the desired solution.
fire may not be extinguished unless the foam is applied and For detailed information on foam application methods and
maintained on the liquid surface until it is sealed by a cohe- equipment, see technical information provided by the foam
sive blanket of foam. Cooling water applied to a flame- concentrate and apparatus suppliers. For additional informa-
exposed tank shell above the level of fuel in the tank may tion on foam types see API RP 2021 and NFPA 11.

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FIRE PROTECTION IN REFINERIES 25
--``,,,`,,```,,`,,,,`,`,`,`,,`-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

6.4 DRY CHEMICALS This multiple application may be supplemented by properly-


directed water-fog streams.
Application of a dry chemical can be effective in control- Portable extinguishers should be placed in locations which
ling and extinguishing fires occurring during the processing are safely accessible in the event of a fire. Whenever an extin-
and handling of flammable liquids and solids. The finely- guisher is used, it should be replaced and removed for inspec-
divided chemical produces free radical interceptors which tion and recharging. Some operators seal an extinguisher or
break the oxidation chain reaction which inhibits the combus- cabinet so that it may be monitored more readily. Other oper-
tion process within the flame itself. ators place the extinguisher in an expendable plastic bag that
These agents are effective on small spill fires and on fires serves the same purpose while keeping the extinguisher clean
involving jetting or falling fuels. However, caution should be and preventing atmospheric corrosion. Reference should be
exercised when extinguishing pressure fires to ensure that the made to the manufacturer's recommendations for inspection,
remaining hazard is not greater than the original fire. Dry servicing, and repair and to NFPA 10.
chemicals are nonconductive agents suitable for fires involv- Large chemical quantities delivered by hose line discharge
ing energized electrical equipment with recognition that the can be supplied by stationary or mobile extinguishers having
particulate residue may be corrosive and certainly requires capacities of 500 pounds (225 kg), 1000 pounds (455 kg), and
cleanup. 2000 pounds (909 kg). Several hose line stations may be
Rapid fire control and flame reduction may also be equipped with these extinguishers to protect a given area.
achieved by using multipurpose (ABC) dry chemical on com- Extinguishers designed for stationary use may also be
bustible materials such as wood and paper; however, an addi- mounted on vehicles for the protection of larger subdivided
tional quenching agent such as water must often be used to areas. Manufacturers have made available specially-designed
extinguish the remaining embers. fire trucks with dry chemical capacities to 3000 pounds (1365
Dry chemical extinguishing agents have proven to be kg). The chemical may be discharged through hose lines, or
effective when used simultaneously with water fog without through high-capacity turret nozzles that have a protection
interfering with the effectiveness of the chemical. The water range of approximately 100 feet (30 meters). These fire trucks
fog will quench embers, cool hot surfaces and reduce flame may also be equipped with supplementary water extinguish-
size making the fire easier to extinguish with the dry chemi- ing equipment. However, when using large wheeled units, fire
cal. This cooling effect is particularly important if a fire has visibility may be lost by the dust cloud.
been burning for a significant period, since there is a high
chance of reflash if fuels contact heated metal. For further 6.5 COMBINED [DUAL] AGENTS
information, see NFPA 10 and NFPA 17. Dual agent foam
Certain AFFF and FFFP foams are compatible with dry
systems (Section 6.5) are available to apply both foam and
chemicals. Systems have been developed for simultaneous or
dry chemical on hydrocarbon fires through combined nozzle
alternate application of these foams with dry chemicals. In
systems. Ideally, the dry chemical “knocks down” the fire and
some designs the dual agent system can increase the dry
the foam secures against reignition.
chemical component range (using the foam stream to carry
the dry chemical) and improve visibility because the water/
6.4.1 Dry Chemical Extinguishers and Equipment foam stream inhibits dust cloud formation. Some very high
capacity systems are commercially available. See NFPA 11
Dry chemical extinguishers are available in hand-carried,
for system design criteria. The foam supplier should be con-
wheeled, truck-mounted, and stationary units. They have
sulted to ensure compatibility of agents and equipment.
capacities ranging from 1.5 pounds (0.7 kg) to 3,000 pounds
(1365 kg) of chemical per unit. Multiple units can provide
higher capacities if required for special installations. Station- 6.6 CLEAN AGENT FIRE EXTINGUISHING
ary units can be piped for manual, semiautomatic, or auto- Clean agent systems are traditionally used in applications
matic control. NFPA 17 provides information concerning where water-based extinguishing systems are presumed to
installation of dry chemical extinguishing systems. present a higher potential for equipment damage than the
Portable hand extinguishers containing 30 pounds (13.65 design basis fire scenario. Clean agents such as halocarbons
kg) or less of dry chemical are recommended for use as incip- and inert gases are normally used to protect enclosed spaces.
ient fire fighting equipment for small fires. Several hand The decision to use a clean agent should be based on an
extinguishers may be used simultaneously for extinguishing understanding of the fire hazards in the enclosure and the
larger fires. Reserve, or secondary, protection can be provided ability of the enclosure to contain the clean agent during a
by wheeled or stationary extinguishers with capacities up to fire. The design of the clean agent system must account for
350 pounds (160 kg). Some operators prefer to use several leakage from the protected space, and the likelihood that the
hand units simultaneously from different angles to provide enclosure integrity will be compromised during the system
coverage of the fire and reduce the potential for reignition. discharge. It is also important to recognize that a particular

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26 API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2001

enclosure may require a clean agent concentration that cre- 6.6.3 Carbon Dioxide
ates a safety hazard to personnel and this consideration
An “inert” gas such as carbon dioxide (CO2), discharged
should be included in choice of a clean extinguishing agent.
into a closed room or into enclosed spaces, can be effective in
Additional safeguards [such as pre-release alarms and post-
extinguishing fires in petroleum pump rooms, electrical
release warning lights] may be needed to ensure prompt evac-
installations, and for some special machinery or laboratory
uation and prevent entry into a hazardous atmosphere.
apparatus. However, carbon dioxide is not biologically inert
Clean agent systems are most suitable for unoccupied
and presents an asphyxiation hazard to personnel. Both of
enclosures containing mission critical equipment (e.g.,
these concerns should be recognized and addressed in the use
remote I/O, critical machinery, computer rooms etc.). Since
of a carbon dioxide inert gas system. Due to static electricity
these are unoccupied, an automatic detection system is a vital
hazard, carbon dioxide systems should not be used to inert a
component of the clean agent system package. A clean agent
flammable atmosphere to prevent ignition. See NFPA 12 and
system will offer little value in terms of equipment preserva-
the U.S. EPA Review of the Use of Carbon Dioxide Total
tion if the detection system does not promptly initiate the
Flooding Fire Extinguishing Systems [Wickham] for addi-
release of the agent. NFPA 2001, Standard on Clean Agent
tional information.
Extinguishing Systems, provides additional information on
clean agent systems. The U.S. EPA “Significant New Alter-
6.6.4 Steam Smothering
natives Policy (SNAP) Program” evaluates alternatives to
ozone-depleting substances such as Halon. An EPA approval The general use of steam as an extinguishing agent can be
list and useful reference information for alternative fire sup- ineffective. A substantial delay will occur before sufficient air
pression agents is posted at www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/fire. is displaced or diluted to render the atmosphere incapable of
supporting combustion. However, because steam is cooler
6.6.1 Halon Extinguishing Agents than flame and the water vapor has a high thermal capacity,
there are special situations where steam is effective, such as:
Halon extinguishing agents such as 1211, 1301, and 2402
are no longer permitted for use in new installations in accor- a. Smothering steam in furnace fire boxes and header boxes.
dance with the Montreal Protocol, due to concerns regarding b. Steam rings on equipment flanges.
effects on the earth’s ozone layer. In some areas [including c. Steam rings on hot-tap equipment.
the USA] recycling to refill existing systems is permissible
d. Steam lances for rapid unit response.
while other areas are more restrictive. For maintenance of
existing Halon systems, refer to NFPA 12A for Halon 1301 Steam should not be injected into large vapor spaces such
systems and regulations relevant to the installation jurisdic- as cone roof tanks containing flammable mixtures; static elec-
tion. A Safety Guide for Decommissioning Halon Systems is tricity generation from such application is believed to be the
available from the Halon Recycling Corporation at source of ignition for fires in the past.
www.halon.org.
Note: The Halon Recycling Corporation (HRC) is a voluntary, non- 6.6.5 Water Mist—a Pseudo-gaseous Agent
profit trade association formed by concerned halon users and the fire Water is an excellent fire suppression agent due to its high
protection industry to support the goals of the environmental commu-
nity and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). specific heat and high latent heat of vaporization. It has no
Its function is to assist users of halon fire fighting chemicals to rede- effect on ozone or global warming. As a mist, water can act as
ploy the existing bank of halons from applications where alternatives a “pseudo-gas” making it even more attractive as a fire extin-
are feasible to those unique situations that still require halons. guishing agent since:

6.6.2 Alternate Agents to Replace Halon a. The higher surface area of water mist “particles” makes it
more effective than more dense water application.
A variety of alternate Halon replacement agents are avail-
b. Because of this increased effectiveness, water mist can
able; see NFPA 2001 Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems
require very small quantities of water to achieve extinguish-
and the U.S. EPA listing at www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/fire.
ment (compared to conventional water application methods).
Significant system revision is typically required for agent
The aftereffect is more like gas than water thus minimizing
storage or delivery (or both). A careful “total system” review
--``,,,`,,```,,`,,,,`,`,`,`,,`-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

collateral damage done by the water.


should be undertaken when choosing any retrofit agent,
including those represented as “drop in” Halon replacements. Because water mist acts much like a gas, it is most effec-
Information on Halon alternatives is available from the Halon tive in enclosed spaces where application density can be
Alternatives Research Corporation web site at www.harc.org maintained and the agent will not be affected by wind cur-

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FIRE PROTECTION IN REFINERIES 27

rents. Water mist technology development continues to e. Failure to implement Management of Change procedures
address several issues: when changes to the process or equipment are made without
appropriate management review and approval.
a. Water mist systems have difficulty extinguishing small
f. Infractions of safety, health and/or environmental regula-
fires in large volume enclosures.
tions or procedures.
b. Water mist use is limited (in size and characteristics) to
g. Unauthorized hot work.
installations where fire test protocols have been developed
h. Unauthorized vehicles or personnel in an area.
against which system performance has been determined by
i. Malfunction of instrumentation or control systems that
testing.
may affect safe unit operations.
c. Water mist systems are more expensive than sprinklers
j. Evidence of any structural weaknesses caused by
both for initial installation and maintenance.
deterioration.
Water mist fire suppression systems and hardware develop- A clear set of expectations should be developed so that per-
ment is continuing. These systems are actively promoted by sonnel know their role in all phases of the operation.
manufacturers and supported by insurance companies who
conduct research and testing. Water mist systems are being
7.2 NORMAL OPERATIONS
used in a growing number of off-shore oil production facili-
ties and in some commercial shipping. The fire/loss prevention measures described in this section
NFPA 750 Standard on Water Mist Fire Protection Systems shall be considered for normal unit operation.
provides resource information. It defines water mist as a 7.2.1 Operating procedures for furnaces, heaters, and other
water spray with a flow-weighted cumulative volumetric dis- fired equipment should address purging, initial light off, re-
tribution of water droplets less than 1000 microns at the mini- ignition, draft controls, burner management systems, safety
mum design operating pressure of the water mist nozzle. A

--``,,,`,,```,,`,,,,`,`,`,`,,`-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---
interlock systems, and fuel shut off systems.
note from NFPA 750 explains that the standard’s interpreta-
tion of “water mist” includes some water sprays used in 7.2.2 Locomotives, other than the fireless steam or com-
NFPA 15 Standard for Water Spray Fixed Systems for Fire pressed air type, should not be permitted to operate near low
Protections and some sprays produced by standard sprinklers flash point oil loading racks while cars are being loaded or
operating at high pressure discussed in NFPA 13 Installation while the area is contaminated with flammable vapors.
of Water Sprinklers.
7.2.3 Procedures for reducing static charge accumulation
while loading tank trucks, tank cars, tankers, and barges,
7 Operating Practices should be prepared and followed. Refer to API RP 2003.
7.1 GENERAL 7.2.4 Grounding or electrical insulation of electrical equip-
Standard Operations Procedures (SOPs) and Emergency ment, lines, cargo hoses, and equipment shall follow API
Operating Procedures (EOPs) should be developed appropri- guidelines for dissipation of static charges (see API RP 2003)
ate to facility needs and consistent with API RP 750 and regu- for loading installations at docks, wharves, piers, loading ter-
latory requirements such as those in 29 CFR 1910.110, minals, and railcar loading installations.
1910.119 and 1910.156. Job and task procedures also should 7.2.5 Grounding or electrical isolation of hydrocarbon pro-
be developed. Supervisory and processing unit personnel cessing equipment should comply with API RP 500. An
should review SOPs and EOPs to assure they are both accu- assurance program to verify electrical grounding or isolation
rate and up-to-date and that procedures are being adhered to should be performed routinely.
as written and intended. Supervision should inform employ-
ees of their roles and responsibilities for safe unit operation 7.2.6 Housekeeping procedures should be followed in all
and the potential process consequences or hazards associated areas to prevent accumulations of oil, grease, or Class A
with deviation from SOPs and EOPs. materials (rags, wood, cardboard).
All personnel should understand their responsibility and 7.2.7 Fire and safety systems should be easily identified
accountability for safe unit operation and how unsafe or (color coded and identified), inspected routinely for operabil-
abnormal conditions or circumstances should be handled ity, maintained and calibrated in accordance with manufactur-
through appropriate levels of management. Appropriate ers’ recommendations to assure they will function as
action should be taken for abnormal circumstances, such as: designed and intended. Personnel expected to operate this
a. Leaks, odors, or unusual sound levels. equipment as part of their job responsibility should be trained
on the equipment, its capabilities, and limitations.
b. Accumulations of flammable liquids or gases.
c. Defective or damaged equipment. 7.2.8 Storage of flammable or combustible liquids should
d. Excessively high or low temperatures or pressures. be in accordance with NFPA 30.

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28 API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2001

7.2.9 SOPs for material transfers should be incorporated temporary until such time as they are safely and permanently
into daily operations. Examples include: repaired (see API RP 570).
a. Tank gauging.
7.3 EMERGENCY OPERATIONS
b. Tank sampling.
c. Tank transfer line up. The potential for fires, explosions, or gas releases increase
d. Tank filling—product movement. during times of abnormal or emergency operation. Properly
e. Water draws. executed pre-incident plans responding to unusual circum-
f. Tank dike drain valve position. stances are needed to address these conditions.

7.2.10 A clear understanding of utility system capabilities, 7.3.1 SOPs and EOPs should address job responsibilities
capacities and limitations is needed by operating personnel to and duties for unit personnel who will participate in startup
ensure safe operation. and planned or emergency shutdowns of the process. These
responsibilities should address the requirements described in
7.2.11 Important lines and equipment should be identified. facility policies and OSHA 29 CFR 1910.119.
7.2.12 Safe work permits are typically needed for the fol- 7.3.2 Operating personnel should be informed of relief sys-
lowing type jobs: tem and flare system capabilities and limitations to support
safe operation under abnormal or adverse operations.
a. Hot work.
b. Cold work. 7.3.3 Operating personnel should be trained to develop
c. Confined space entry. awareness of the consequences of potential abnormal opera-
d. Vehicle access. tions.
e. Equipment isolation. 7.3.4 Management systems should be instituted to quickly
7.2.13 Control and maintenance of purge and pressuriza- notify potentially affected parties (nearby process units, adja-
tion systems for equipment that does not meet the electrical cent facilities, and community neighbors). See Section 9.4.
classification for the area is essential for control and suppres- 7.3.5 EOPs should address abnormal events such as floods,
sion of ignition sources. See NFPA 496 Standard for Purged hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, high winds, lightning,
and Pressurized Enclosures for Electrical Equipment in Haz- heavy snows and ice storms, freezing temperatures, civil
ardous (Classified) Locations. unrest and terrorism, where applicable. See Section 9 on
7.2.14 Precautions should be taken to exclude air and Emergency Response Organization.
water from processes for which they were neither designed 7.3.6 Unit personnel must be informed of their emergency
nor intended. The use of incompatible fittings can provide

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response (E/R) roles in the facility emergency management
one safeguard against inadvertent connections. program. Personnel responses shall be consistent with 29
7.2.15 The addition or deletion of process chemicals such CFR 1910.120(q) [Hazwoper] and 1910.156 [Subpart L Fire
as demulsifiers and corrosion inhibitors should be done with Brigades]. Personnel assigned E/R roles should have appro-
the thorough understanding of metallurgical implications. priate levels of training and emergency equipment to safely
Likewise, changes to operating parameters (e.g., transition carry out those roles and responsibilities. E/R drills should be
temperatures), feed-stocks (particularly those containing sul- a routine part of unit SOPs and EOPs. See Section 10.2.3 on
fur), and equipment repairs involving hot work (normalizing, Simulated Fire Drills.
annealing, heat treatment, and weld repair) typically involve
detailed job procedures that address metallurgical concerns. 7.4 LEAKS
Process chemical changes should be reviewed and entered Since containment of hydrocarbons is the primary and
into the facility hazard communication and Management of most effective fire prevention principle, leaks are of signifi-
Change systems. cant concern. Considerations for the control of a leak should
7.2.16 Electrical junction boxes, receptacles, or other ser- include the following:
vice devices should not be used in a classified area unless all a. Personnel exposure.
bolts, covers, screws, and seals are maintained according to b. Utilization of emergency response personnel and
the manufacturers’ recommendations and NFPA 70. resources.
7.2.17 Temporary repairs for the control of hydrocarbon c. Isolation of the fuel leak at the upstream source.
leaks such as epoxy injections, containment boxes (clamps), d. Isolation of transfer medium.
etc., should be engineered and have proper management e. Isolation of ignition sources.
review and approval. All such repairs should be considered f. Containment of product.

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FIRE PROTECTION IN REFINERIES 29

g. Downwind and off-site impact. 8 Maintenance Procedures


h. Displacement of liquids still at risk.
8.1 GENERAL
i. Utilization of emergency response personnel and
resources. Fire prevention during maintenance activities depends
j. Reduction of hazard zone via application of firefighting upon careful planning and preparation with isolation or the
foam for vapor suppression. removal of flammable liquids, vapors, sludges or other mate-
k. Development of mitigation clean-up strategies. rials before any work is begun. Related major activities such
as demolition or the removal of process equipment poses
unique hazards. Lines and equipment must be identified and
7.4.1 Liquid Leaks
marked. Hydrocarbon-freeing procedures must be followed,
If a break or serious leak occurs in a line, the pumps should such as blinding, purging, gas freeing, steaming, water wash-
be shut down and all appropriate block valves closed. If pos- ing, liquid evacuation, or inerting.
sible, suction can be applied to the affected portion of the line In normal maintenance and during demolition it is some-
unless the resultant entrance of air creates a hazard. In that times impossible to verify the complete removal of flamma-
case, water or inert gas displacement may be desirable. If the ble material or elimination of oxidizers. Therefore,
leak involves a tank or any large vessel, available lines should precautions must be taken to prevent ignition sources from
be used to pump out the liquid. Trenches, dikes, or diversion contacting flammable mixtures. Examples include:
walls should be used either to confine the spill or to divert it to
a. Isolation of drainage in the work area.
sewers or separators. If the leak is otherwise unstoppable,
water may be used to displace the liquid. b. Inerting containers.
If a large spill occurs, portable pumps may be required to c. Enriching containers.
supplement permanent equipment in recovering the hydrocar- d. Using spark containment enclosures around the work area.
bon. If flammable vapors are present, caution must be used in e. Use of alternatives to hot work (cold cutting, hydraulic
positioning the pumps because the pump drivers may be scissors cuts, using pneumatic tools).
sources of ignition and personnel exposure may be a concern.
Good housekeeping is an important prerequisite in prevent-
Traffic should be controlled and vehicles should be excluded
ing fires associated with maintenance procedures. Refuse that
from the affected area. Proper bonding and grounding should
is combustible should be stored in appropriate containers.
be used. Vent hoses from vacuum trucks must be placed with
Leaks and spills should be addressed promptly.
caution, to prevent ignition of the vapors (see API Publ 2219
Safe Operating Guidelines for Vacuum Trucks in Petroleum
Service). 8.2 HOT WORK
Water spray or steam applied at the emission point of a Alternatives to the use of hot work in process areas should
small leak may aid in dispersing vapors and preventing igni- be considered when work must be conducted away from des-
tion. Foam may be applied to cover hydrocarbon spills to ignated shop areas. However, hot work activities, such as
reduce vaporization. electric or gas welding, cutting, brazing, or similar flame or
spark-producing operations are necessary for certain equip-
7.4.2 Gas Leaks ment maintenance at refineries. Hot work maintenance activi-
ties normally require a hot work permit or authorization
In the event of a break or failure of a hydrocarbon vapor or provided by trained individuals. Hot work activities may be
liquefied petroleum gas line or vessel, all nearby or down- subject to several regulations, for instance OSHA 29 CFR
wind sources of ignition should be immediately eliminated. 1910.119, 1910.147 and 1910.252. Historically, Coast Guard
The vapors from leaks may roll along the ground and accu- permit requirements have been an additional consideration
mulate in low-lying areas before diluting and dispersing. for hot work at docks associated with refineries. For more
Large leaks have the potential to travel great distances and information see API RP 2009 Safe Welding, Cutting and Hot
still be within the flammable limits for hydrocarbon. Some Work Practices in the Petroleum and Petrochemical Indus-
gas leaks may be toxic to humans, as well as being flamma- tries and NFPA 51B Standard for Fire Prevention During
ble; emergency responders should use appropriate personal Welding, Cutting, and Other Hot Work.
protective equipment and people down wind may need to Certain maintenance activities may require welding or hot
shelter-in-place. It may be possible to disperse vapor leaks by tapping on equipment in service if it is infeasible or impracti-
utilizing air, steam, water or other chemical agents to mitigate cal to take the equipment out of service. Such activities
the potential flammable toxic hazards. If ignition occurs, a require careful planning. For additional information see API
pressure fire should never be extinguished until the source of RP 2201 Safe Hot Tapping Practices in the Petroleum & Pet-
the leak can be identified and isolated. rochemical Industries.
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30 API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2001

8.3 PLANNED MAINTENANCE ACTIVITIES (including management) who will assume ICS roles is
important.
The following elements should be considered for inclusion
in planned maintenance activities: Use of ICS is mandated by OSHA in Hazardous Waste
Operations and Emergency Response 1910.120(q) and has
a. Written maintenance procedures. been adopted into the US federal government’s Homeland
b. Up-to-date engineering drawings, inspection procedures Security National Incident Management System (NIMS). The
and reports, manufacturers information, and historical infor- U.S. Fire Administration (part of FEMA and the U.S. Depart-
mation on repairs. ment of Homeland Security) provides free self-study courses
c. Positive Material Identification (PMI) programs. for ICS on their web site http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/
d. Written safe work authorization procedures. crslist.asp. FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute has 40+
e. Established rigging and lifting procedures. free independent study courses available for on-line web train-
f. Use of tools and equipment (see API 2214). ing or download. Additional information on ICS (directed pri-
g. Adherence to grounding and bonding procedures. marily toward public fire departments) is available in NFPA
h. Static discharge awareness (see API 2003). 1561 and in publications from Oklahoma State University’s
i. Control of hazardous energy and material sources (lock- Fire Protection Publications.
out/tagout, see OSHA 29 CFR 1910.147 and ANSI Z244.1). Many refineries designate facilities and staff to function as
j. Procedures for bypassing critical shutdown and safety an Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The EOC addresses
equipment and their subsequent return to service. incident related management needs not specific to the incident
k. Maintenance inspection of Pressure Vessels (see API 510 mitigation strategy or tactics. These include internal interface
and RP 572). with non-involved operational units and external relations
l. Piping Inspection and repair (see API 570). with the community, regulatory agencies and the media. Inci-
m. Tank inspection and repair (see API Std 653, RP 575 and dent Command may operate from the same location as the
Std 2610). EOC but frequently is situated in close proximity to the inci-
n. Management of Change Procedures (see CCPS publica- dent site while maintaining close communication with the
tions and OSHA 1910.119). EOC. This provides functional advantages for communication
with emergency response and process operations personnel as
well as providing useful isolation from distraction.
8.4 WINTERIZING
Firefighting is only one aspect of handling fire incidents.
Prevention programs in areas with freeze potential should An Incident Command System incorporating an Emergency
verify that out-of-service piping is freeze proof and provide Operations Center can be used to manage a wide range of
winterizing to reduce potential for ice formation and fracture related emergency activities which must be coordinated with
of aboveground fire water equipment, safety showers and firefighting, which can include:
dead-leg pockets in which water can accumulate (such as bot-
tom gauge glasses, low spots in pipe runs, draw connections, a. Implementing emergency action and evacuation plans.
bleeders and valve manifolds). b. Accounting for personnel from the area affected by the
incident.
9 Emergency Response Organization c. Providing rescue and first aid for the injured.
9.1 GENERAL d. Shutting down equipment and rerouting fuel from the fire
area.
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This section reviews the basic principles of emergency e. Performing special emergency maintenance work.
response and fire-protection organization with the recognition
f. Controlling utilities.
that many different types of organization function effectively.
g. Providing auxiliary traffic control and security.
9.2 INCIDENT COMMAND SYSTEM h. Shutting off nonessential water usage from the fire main
when a fire alarm is activated.
The incident command system (ICS) is an integrated man- i. Transporting and staging reserve personnel and firefight-
agement system for emergencies such as fires, hazardous ing equipment.
material spills, multi-casualty incidents, earthquakes, floods,
j. Maintaining a system to account for personnel working in
etc. [The term Incident Management System (IMS) is also
the “hot zone.”
used.] ICS provides a management structure with defined
modular roles for co-ordination of facility personnel and k. Providing rehabilitation areas for response personnel.
operations, local fire departments, mutual aid organizations, l. Ensuring liaison among all the emergency activities.
and equipment responding to an emergency. For ICS to func- m. Providing for media communications and good public
tion effectively, training and education of all personnel relations.

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FIRE PROTECTION IN REFINERIES 31

n. Providing for backup operating personnel. plies or personnel. Procedures should be in place to estab-
o. Making mandatory timely notifications of federal, state or lish sequence and priorities for notification depending upon
local agencies. incident needs.
In some refineries, arrangements are made for the fire or
Normally the person responsible for the unit where the fire
emergency calls to be received at constantly-attended loca-
has occurred should take the lead role for emergency shut-
tions, such as a laboratory, powerhouse, or main gate. Special
down operations. An alternate should be assigned in case the
telephones are used only for incoming emergency calls. A
responsible person is not available. Supervision of the actual
dedicated phone number is selected, and decals showing this
firefighting is the responsibility of the Incident Commander
number are attached to all in-plant refinery phones.
or a designated alternate. Coordination between the persons
The alarm procedure is initiated by the attendant receiving
in these two roles is a key to safe and effective fire control.
the emergency call. The attendant should be trained for the
duty and be supplied in advance with the following:
9.3 DUTIES OF FIRE PROTECTION STAFF
a. An emergency call-out list for key personnel, local public
Because of variables among facilities—such as size, man-
fire departments, ambulance services, and doctors. In some
agement structure, available personnel, throughput, nature of
instances, an independent agency is used for handling this
operations, philosophy of fire control, and resources used—
emergency call-out.
each refinery may choose a unique type of fire-protection
b. A set of written notification scripts specific to incident
organization to meet its particular needs. In many refineries
type and personnel or agency being notified.
the emergency response fire-protection organization consists
of a staff who may supervise fire-fighting activities, conduct c. An emergency communication system between the main
fire training, inspect emergency response equipment, partici- office, the main gate, and other key locations. The location
pate in rescue and emergency medical activities, maintain and and nature of the emergency will be announced over this
issue fire-protection equipment, and investigate and report system.
fires. This staff may also counsel operating and engineering d. A method for recording all calls (e.g., log book, tape
groups on fire protection for new or rebuilt facilities, attend recorder, etc.) and time of notification.
planning sessions for major shutdowns of operating equip- e. A checklist to ensure that all notifications appropriate to
ment, work with fire insurance representatives, and confer the type of incident have been completed.
with regulatory agencies on codes and ordinances. In some Issuance of company identification to key people who may
refineries, this staff is integrated with the safety or acci- have to respond from off-site (including members of the
dent-prevention group. In many refineries a volunteer fire fire-fighting squads, Incident Command and EOC personnel)
organization operates effectively to fulfill a portion of the is desirable in order to assist passage through road blocks
above duties. when proceeding to the refinery during an emergency. Fire-
Periodic review of a refinery's fire-protection program is fighters should wear personal and organization identification
recommended so that the fire-fighting organization will func- on their clothing or headgear.
tion effectively. Written policy, procedures, and minimum
training requirements are specified in the OSHA Subpart L 9.5 FIREFIGHTER SELECTION AND TRAINING
Fire Brigades (1910.156) and Hazardous Waste Operations
and Emergency Response (1910.120(q)) regulations. NFPA In developing a firefighting organization, the number of
600, Standard on Industrial Fire Brigades provides training firefighters should be appropriate to the anticipated need.
guidance for advanced exterior fire brigades while NFPA 601 Specific types of personnel should be chosen for the firefight-
provides information that aids management in the selection ing organization. Selection should be based on the number of
and training of security personnel hired to protect property workers available, their job assignments, diversity of skills,
against fire loss. their freedom to be relieved of duty to respond to emergen-
cies, and the type of fire-protection equipment available. Care
9.4 NOTIFICATION PROCEDURES should be taken to verify that firefighting personnel are physi-
cally capable of performing the duties that are assigned.
A callout notification system should be developed to con- A core group of firefighters should be selected from regular
tact off-site personnel with emergency response duties, shift employees who can be relieved from regular duties for
including those with Incident Command or EOC roles. firefighting; they, in turn, should be supplemented by day
When a fire is reported, the procedure should include staff or off-duty employees. Some locations select shift per-
prompt notification of the facility fire fighting and emer- sonnel for fire-fighting duties on the basis of job assignment
gency team personnel, outside community or regulatory or classification. Other facilities use a voluntary basis, rather
authorities requiring notification and any outside mutual aid than assigning firefighting duties to specific individuals
groups who may be called upon to provide equipment, sup- within the plant. Many plants use a combination of assigned
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32 API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2001

and volunteer fire crews. Consideration should be given to 9.7 FIREFIGHTER PERSONAL PROTECTIVE
shift changes, days off duty and vacations to provide adequate CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT
coverage at all times. Where possible, emergency plans
9.7.1 Protective Clothing
should use supplemental assistance from outside fire depart-
ments or mutual-aid groups for major incidents. Proper protective clothing is required for fire brigade mem-
When working with volunteer or other supplemental bers and emergency responders based on their anticipated
fire-fighting groups, it is important to determine which per- exposure and duties. Federal regulatory requirements are out-
sonnel will be in charge of each aspect of the fire-fighting lined in OSHA Subpart L (1910.156) and Hazardous Waste
Operations and Emergency Response (1910.120(q)). NFPA
activity. Use of the Incident Command System provides an
600 Industrial Fire Brigades states that protective clothing
excellent functional tool for this coordination and satisfies
shall be available in sufficient quantity and sizes to fit each
regulatory requirements.
brigade member expected to fight advanced exterior and/or
Most fires have the potential for the emergency response interior structure fires. NFPA 600 states that all firefighters
action to include shutting down equipment, as well as fighting protective clothing (frequently called bunker gear or turnouts)
the fire. The division of responsibilities among emergency must meet the requirements of the appropriate NFPA stan-
activities should be made through a pre-fire training program. dard (see NPFA 1971). Non-fire brigade personnel working
Emergency simulations and unit specific drills help prepare in a fire-exposed area should be similarly protected.
for fire incidents. The training program in Section 10 outlines
one approach. It should be tailored to apply to a particular 9.7.2 Respiratory Protection and Other Equipment
refinery or to the needs of specific types of potential inci-

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Positive pressure self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA)
dents. Training should be structured to develop an effective
shall be used by potentially exposed fire brigade personnel
emergency response capability as well as provide regulatory
when, in the judgment of the personnel in charge (i.e., Incident
compliance. Commander, Safety Officer, Fire Chief, etc.) the atmosphere is
hazardous, suspected of being hazardous, or could rapidly
9.6 INCIDENT COMMANDER become hazardous. Other equipment such as PASS (Personal
Alert Safety Systems) devices should be used when appropri-
Operating under the Incident Command System one indi-
ate, such as when fighting interior structural fires.
vidual should be designated as the Incident Commander
(IC). This individual should have received appropriate ICS
training. The IC role is modular and can be passed to
10 Training for Firefighting
another individual as personnel availability changes. The 10.1 GENERAL
Incident Command System structure provides an expand-
The primary goal for emergency response training is to
able framework to address both small and large incidents.
develop and maintain an effective organization which functions
Many locations use ICS for all incidents to provide a consis-
safely during emergency situations without unduly putting
tent approach and maintain familiarity with the process and
individuals at risk. Written training policies and procedures for
terminology.
firefighting should be developed. All personnel should receive
The incident commander should have multiple reliable training commensurate with level of responsibility and which
means of communication so that, during an emergency, he or prepares them for the duties they will be assigned. This section
she can promptly contact those involved in fire control opera- discusses some of the various types of fire training currently in
tions. Portable radios, cellular phones, and plant phones are use. Refer to OSHA 1910.156, Subpart L and OSHA
some options. Communication with potential mutual aid 1910.120(q) for minimum regulatory training requirements
responders should be reviewed in advance both for incident and NFPA 600 for guidance. Instructors should be familiar
notification and for subsequent on-site incident management. with the characteristics and limitations of the equipment used.
A person who is fully conversant with radio-telephone equip- Training should be conducted both in the classroom and on the
ment can be of great value to co-ordinate the fire emergency drill grounds, using various types and sizes of live fires and
communications with the regular plant communications sys- simulations. A system for tracking individual training should
tem. The type of communication used will be determined by be used; credit for training received through other venues (such
the refinery’s communications resources, as well as by the as volunteer fire departments or individual study course work)
type and size of the fire. can be considered for maintaining current status.

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FIRE PROTECTION IN REFINERIES 33

10.2 DRILL GROUND TRAINING 10.2.3 Simulated Fire Drills

When “hands-on” training is conducted on-site, drill Simulated fire drills should be used in a facility’s firefight-
grounds may be built to provide adequate training for the ing training program. In large facilities these may be related
facility involved. Training should not be limited solely to pit, to unit-specific pre-fire incident plans (see Section 11.2).
tank, and other two-dimensional fires. Realistic props, can be On-the-job simulated emergency (hypothetical) fire drills
relate the drill-ground training to potential emergency prob-
constructed from scrap equipment and can be used to simu-
lems in operating areas. This can be achieved if operating per-
late jet, spray, and other three-dimensional pressure fires
sonnel and emergency response personnel jointly plan a
potentially encountered on the job. Where possible, more
simulated emergency. The drill should activate those portions
than one type of fuel should be used for fire suppression train- of the Incident Command System which would be incorpo-
ing, reflecting the range of materials likely to be encountered rated in a “real” response.
in fires at the location. This will build experience and skills For example, a stubborn fire from a blown packing gland
appropriate for the facility. Training plans should give consid- may be simulated if the unit is operating smoothly. Appropri-
eration to providing experience with hydrocarbon fires for ate personnel should be advised of the drill, notifications
personnel from public departments who may respond as made and the alarm should be sounded. The firefighters
mutual aid. Onsite training can be supplemented using offsite should then respond with the appropriate fire-fighting equip-
training from fire training schools available throughout the ment and Incident Command should be established. Fire sup-
country. pression setup should proceed while the operating personnel
simulate emergency shutdown operations. These shutdown
10.2.1 Instructors operations may be accomplished by placing tags or small fiber
gaskets, marked “open” or “closed,” on valves, pumps, and
Instructors and those expected to lead firefighters must be the like. This approach is sometimes called a “red tag” drill.
provided with training that is more comprehensive than that For observation purposes, one or more persons may be
provided to the general membership of the fire crew. Quali- assigned to keep a record of the time required to activate
fied drill ground instructors may come from the plant fire bri- fire-extinguishing equipment and to report on the overall effi-
gade, plant staff, or outside personnel; they may also be plant ciency of the fire drill. The lessons learned from the drill
personnel, trained by skilled instructors, who in turn train the should then be discussed with the operators, and, if necessary,
the drill may be repeated to improve performance. At the con-
staff working with them. The qualifications of all instructors
clusion of the drill, a critique should be conducted to evaluate
should be documented.
the effectiveness of the response and how it might be
improved.
10.2.2 Types of Training Strategies should be developed to direct the control and
Personnel expected to respond to fires should be provided extinguishment of various types of refinery fires. Strategies
with training consistent with those expectations. This should may include evaluating the means to provide appropriate
include primary education or training for whatever equipment resources to resolve an overall problem, identifying specific
needs such as lifesaving and rescue techniques, and protect-
they are expected to use.
ing exposures. Drills using these strategies should be con-
For all responders, including those with incipient firefight- ducted periodically in various sections of the refinery.
ing roles, this typically will include identifying the need for,
If feasible, drills should be expanded to include the activa-
and use of, personal protective equipment and facilities tion of spray systems and fixed monitors and the use of large
designed for use by one person (such as hand extinguishers,
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hose lays. The appropriate fire crews should be employed in


small water and foam hose lines) as well as activation of fixed these drills.
water-spray systems, fixed monitors, and deluge sets.
Secondary training for brigade members may include han- 10.3 CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION
dling of equipment such as large hose lines, fire mains and
foam equipment, fire apparatus, self-contained breathing Basic classroom instruction can include discussion of fire-
apparatus (SCBA), and related equipment. Training activities fighter safety, table-top demonstrations, fire tetrahedron the-
should strive to develop teamwork among the various groups ory including the burning characteristics of various fuels, and
assigned to respond to major fires. education regarding the function of the various types of
fire-fighting agents used at the facility. This classroom
Training of outside emergency responders is also impor-
instruction should include a review of:
tant. If public or other outside fire departments respond to
plant fire alarms, it may be advantageous for their personnel a. Safety procedures for emergency responders.
(especially officers) to participate in some of the training used b. Personal protective equipment for firefighters.
for the refinery emergency responders. c. Practice in the use of self-contained breathing apparatuses.

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34 API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2001

d. Incident Command System operation and roles. 11.2 PRE-FIRE INCIDENT PLANNING
e. Fire-related special hazards in the workplace.
Pre-fire incident plans provide effective tools for reviewing
f. Review of any special hazardous materials showing quan- response capability and for structuring training. They also
tities and location. assist in regulatory compliance (as for 29 CFR 1910.38). Pre-
g. Emergency action procedures. fire plans should provide guidance for addressing special con-
h. Pre-fire plan. cerns such as mentioned in Section 4.6 (BLEVE, boilover,
i. Firefighting tactics. water reactive chemicals etc.).
j. Fire water and foam systems. Candidate subject areas for inclusion in a Pre-fire Plan
might include:
Study of past fires is an important aspect of the fire training
program and should be part of the committee agenda. When a. Identified fire hazards, including review of hazardous
possible, reports of fires in other refineries should be studied material inventory.

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to increase knowledge of firefighting problems specific to b. Water supply availability.
refineries. c. Water requirements (extinguishing, cooling, etc.).
d. Foam delivery requirements and capability.
10.4 OVERCOMING PERSONAL CONCERNS e. Potential weather concerns.
f. Response requirements: personnel availability vs. require-
Many of the psychological reactions and concerns experi- ments; fire suppression “delivery” equipment; consumables
enced by inexperienced individuals when they face a large such as foam, dry chemical, carbon dioxide, etc.
fire may be overcome with proper drill ground training. Per- g. Mutual aid organization capabilities, resources and
sons trained on large fires recognize the magnitude of their
response time.
task and usually do not become overly confident. They also
h. Evacuation requirements and procedures [facility, contrac-
learn the capabilities and limitations of their equipment.
tors, community].
i. Communication needs (employees, emergency response
10.5 DOCUMENTATION personnel, community, law enforcement, regulatory).
Training records should be maintained to ensure readiness j. Scaled plot plan of the hazard and/or areas potentially
of the emergency response personnel and document regula- involved.
tory compliance. Written training requirements based on k. Scene security.
emergency responder duties and roles are specified in OSHA l. Accessibility to scene (e.g., having an alternate route in
1910.156 and 1910.120(q). case access to the scene is blocked by rail cars or other
equipment).
11 Pre-fire Incident Planning m. Decontamination facilities and procedures.
n. Designation of staging areas.
11.1 GENERAL o. Major medical response for multiple injury situations.
p. Industrial rescue capability.
Effective emergency response requires pre-incident plan-
q. Areas with asbestos, benzene, polychlorinated biphenyls
ning. Many facilities use a written pre-fire plan which
(PCBs), etc.
addresses coordination of activities and resources. The fol-
r. Location of radioactive instrumentation elements.
lowing plan elements originated with a major facility, but the
basic principles apply to all facilities. Any plan should be tai- Overall facility plans may consider adding information
lored to the size, complexity and special needs of the specific regarding business continuity, post incident traumatic stress
organization. Emergency response plans should be consistent potential, environmental follow-up and reference to security
with the existing facility organization structure to minimize guidance documents.
disruption of normal operations.

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APPENDIX A—BIBLIOGRAPHY

These references are arranged by subject. They include items from Section 2 with additional references of potential value
for reviewing the many aspects of refinery fire protection.

FIRE CHEMISTRY, PHYSICS AND BACKGROUND REFERENCES


API8 RP2214 Spark Ignition Properties of Hand Tools
API RP 2216 Ignition Risk of Hydrocarbon Liquids and Vapors by Hot Surfaces in the Open Air
Bureau of Mines9
Bull. 503 Limits of Flammability of Gases and Vapors
Bull. 627 Flammability Characteristics of Combustible Gases and Vapors

AIChE-CCPS Understanding Explosions [book]


AIChE-CCPS Guidelines for Evaluating the Characteristics of Vapor Cloud Explosions, Flash Fires & BLEVEs
NFPA Fire Protection Handbook, 19th Edition
NFPA Fire Protection Guide to Hazardous Materials, 13th Ed.
ANSI/ACC Z129.1 Hazardous Industrial Chemicals—Precautionary Labeling
ANSI/ACC Z400 Hazardous Industrial Chemicals—Material Safety Data Sheets—Preparation
ASTM10 D 86 Standard Test Method for Distillation of Petroleum Products
ASTM D 323 Standard Method of Test for Vapor Pressure of Petroleum Products (Reid Method)

FIRE CODES
NFPA 30 Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code
Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code handbook,1996
NFPA 58 Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code
NFPA 70 National Electrical Code

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NFPA 72 National Fire Alarm Code
NFPA 85 Boiler and Combustion Systems Hazards Code

REFINERY DESIGN
API RP 500 Classifications of Locations for Electrical Installation at Petroleum Facilities Classified as Class I,
Division 1 and Division 2
API 510 Pressure Vessel Inspection Code: Maintenance Inspection, Rating, Repair, and Alteration
API RP 520 Sizing, Selection and Installation of Pressure-Relieving Devices in Refineries, Part I Sizing and Selection,
and Part 2 Installation
API RP 521 Guide for Pressure-Relieving and Depressuring Systems
API Std 537 Flare Details for General Refinery and Petrochemical Service
API 560 Fired Heaters for General Refinery Services
API Std 610 Centrifugal Pumps for Petroleum, Petrochemical and Natural Gas Industries
API Std 617 Axial and Centrifugal Compressors and Expander-compressors for Petroleum, Chemical and Gas Indus-
try Services
API Std 618 Reciprocating Compressors for Petroleum, Chemical and Gas Industry Services
API Std 620 Design and Construction of Large, Welded, Low-Pressure Storage Tanks
API Std 650 Welded Steel Tanks for Oil Storage
API Publ 850 API Standards 620, 650, and 653 Interpretations—Tank Construction and In-Service Inspection—
Answers to Technical Inquiries

8American Petroleum Institute documents are available from Global Engineering Documents, 15 Inverness Way East, M/S C303B, Englewood,
Co 80112-5776 and may be ordered from their web site at www.global.ihs.com.
9U.S. Bureau of Mines [part of NIOSH/CDC], Bureau of Mines Documents are available from the U.S. Department of Commerce National
Technical Information Service [NTIS].
10American Society for Testing and Materials, 1916 Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. www.astm.org

35

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36 API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2001

API RP 752 Management of Hazards Associated with Location of Process Plant Buildings
API Std 2000 Venting Atmospheric and Low-Pressure Storage Tanks: Nonrefrigerated and Refrigerated
API RP 2009 Safe Welding, Cutting, and Hot Work Practices in the Petroleum and Petrochemical Industries
API RP 2201 Safe Hot Tapping Practices in the Petroleum & Petrochemical Industries
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API RP 2210 Flame Arresters for Vents of Tanks Storing Petroleum Products
API Publ 2218 Fireproofing Practices in Petroleum and Petrochemical Processing Plants
API RP 2350 Overfill protection for Petroleum Storage Tanks
API Std 2510 Design and Construction of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Installations
API Publ 2510A Fire-Protection Considerations for the Design and Operation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Storage
Facilities
API Std 2610 Design, Construction, Operation, Maintenance and Inspection of Terminal and Tank Facilities
AIChE-CCPS Guidelines for Engineering Design for Process Safety
AIChE-CCPS Guidelines for Hazard Evaluation Procedures
AIChE-CCPS Guidelines for Safe Automation of Chemical Processes
AIChE-CCPS Guidelines for Facility Siting and Layout
ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code
NFPA 15 Water Spray Fixed Systems for Fire Protection
NFPA 20 Installation of Stationary Pumps for Fire Protection
NFPA 24 Installation of Private Fire Service Mains and Their Appurtenances
NFPA 69 Explosion Prevention Systems
NFPA 496 Purged and Pressurized Enclosures for Electrical Equipment
NFPA 497 Classification of Flammable Liquids, Gases, or Vapors and of Hazardous (Classified) Locations for Elec-
trical Installations in Chemical Process Areas
NFPA 499 Classification of Combustible Dusts and of Hazardous (Classified) Locations for Electrical Installations
in Chemical Process Areas
NFPA 750 Water Mist Fire Protection Systems
NFPA 780 Installation of Lightning Protection Systems
OSHA 1910.119 Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals

PIPING
API 570 Piping Inspection Code: Inspection, Repair, Alteration, & Rerating of In-Service Piping Systems
ANSI/ASME
B31.1 Power Piping
B31.2 Fuel Gas Piping
B31.3 Process Piping
B31.4 Pipeline Transportation Systems for Liquid Hydrocarbons and Other Liquids
B31.5 Refrigeration Piping and Heat Transfer Components
B31.8 Gas Transmission and Distribution Piping Systems
B31.8S Managing System Integrity of Gas Pipelines
B31.9 Building Services Piping
B31.11 Slurry Transportation Piping Systems

OPERATING PRACTICES
API RP 750 Management of Process Hazards [historical]
API RP 2003 Protection Against Ignitions Arising Out of Static, Lightning, and Stray Currents
API RP 2009 Safe Welding, Cutting and Hot Work Practices in the Petroleum and Petrochemical Industries
API RP 2023 Guide for Safe Storage and Handling of Heated Petroleum-Derived Asphalt Products and Crude-Oil
Residua
API RP 2201 Safe Hot Tapping Practices in the Petroleum & Petrochemical Industries
API Publ 2219 Safe Operating Guidelines for Vacuum Trucks in Petroleum Service
API Std 2220 Improving Owner and Contractor Safety Performance
API RP 2221 Contractor & Owner Safety Program Implementation

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FIRE PROTECTION IN REFINERIES 37

API Publ 2510A Fire-Protection Considerations for the Design and Operation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Stor-
age Facilities
API Std 2610 Design, Construction, Operation, Maintenance and Inspection of Terminal and Tank Facilities
OSHA 1910.110 Storage and Handling of Liquefied Petroleum Gases
OSHA 1910.119 Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals

MARINE TERMINALS
OCIMF11 International Safety Guides for Oil Tankers and Terminals

MAINTENANCE & INSPECTION PROCEDURES

API 570 Piping Inspection Code: Inspection, Repair, Alteration, & Rerating of In-Service Piping Systems
API RP 572 Inspection of Pressure Vessels
API RP 573 Inspection of Fired Boilers and Heaters
API RP 574 Inspection of Piping, Tubing, Valves, and Fittings
API RP 575 Inspection of Atmospheric and Low-Pressure Storage Tanks
API RP 576 Inspection of Pressure Relieving Devices
API Std 653 Tank Inspection, Repair, Alteration, and Reconstruction
API RP 2009 Safe Welding, Cutting, and Hot Work Practices in the Petroleum and Petrochemical Industries
API RP 2201 Safe Hot Tapping Practices in the Petroleum & Petrochemical Industries
NFPA 25 Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems
NFPA 1962 Inspection, Care & Use of Fire Hose, Couplings & Nozzles & Service Testing of Fire Hose
ANSI/ASSE Z244.1 Lockout/tagout of Energy Sources
OSHA 1910.147 Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)
OSHA 1910.252 Subpart Q—Welding, Cutting and Brazing

EMERGENCY RESPONSE ORGANIZATION


API RP 2001 Fire Protection in Refineries
OSHA 1910.132 Personal Protective Equipment

FIRE CONTROL AND EXTINGUISHMENT


API RP 2021 Management of Atmospheric Storage Tank Fires
API RP 2023 Guide for Safe Storage and Handling of Heated Petroleum-Derived Asphalt Products and Crude-Oil
Residua (Appendix K)
API RP 2030 Application of Fixed Water Spray System for Fire Protection in the Petroleum Industry
API Publ 2510A Fire-Protection Considerations for the Design and Operation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Stor-
age Facilities

FIRE SUPPRESSION AGENTS AND SYSTEMS


EPA 430-R-00-002 Review of the Use of Carbon Dioxide Total Flooding Fire Extinguishing Systems
EPA 430-R-00-002 Carbon Dioxide as a Fire Suppressant: Examining the Risks
NFPA 10 Portable Fire Extinguishers
NFPA 11 Low-, Medium-, and High-Expansion Foam
NFPA 12 Carbon Dioxide Extinguishing Systems
NFPA 12A Halon 1301 Fire Extinguishing Systems
NFPA 13 Installation of Sprinkler Systems
NFPA 15 Water Spray Fixed Systems for Fire Protection
NFPA 16 Installation of Foam-Water Sprinkler and Foam-Water Spray Systems
NFPA 17 Dry Chemical Extinguishing Systems

11Oil Companies International Marine Forum, Bermuda, and International Chamber of Shipping, London.

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38 API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2001

NFPA 750 Water Mist Fire Protection Systems


NFPA 1964 Spray Nozzles (Shutoff and Tip)
NFPA 2001 Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems

TRAINING FOR FIRE PROTECTION


NFPA 600 Industrial Fire Brigades
OSHA 1910.120 (q) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response
OSHA 1910.132 Personal Protective Equipment
OSHA 1910.156 Subpart L—Fire Brigades

INCIDENT MANAGEMENT
NFPA 1561 Emergency Services Incident Management System
DHS U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Incident Management System, March 1, 2004
FEMA EMI12 FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute has 40+ free independent study courses available for on-line
web training or download at http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/crslist.asp, including
FEMA IS-195 Basic Incident Command System [available online at http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/
is195.asp]
FEMA National Incident Management System Online Course at www.fema.gov/nims

PRE-INCIDENT PLANNING & PREPARATION


API RP 2021 Management of Atmospheric Storage Tank Fires
OSHA 1910.38 Employee Emergency Plans and Fire Prevention Plans
NFPA 1600 Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs
AIChE-CCPS Guidelines for Technical Planning for On-Site Emergencies

SECURITY
API Security Guidelines for the Petroleum Industry, 2nd Ed. April 2003
API/NPRA Security Vulnerability Assessment Methodology, May 2003
API RP 70 Security for Offshore Oil and Natural Gas Operations, 1st Ed, April, 2003
AIChE (CCPS®) Guidelines for Managing and Analyzing the Security Vulnerabilities of Fixed Chemical Sites, Aug. 2002

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Sandia National
Laboratories Vulnerability Assessment Methodology for Chemical Facilities (VAM-CF).
NFPA 601 Security Services in Fire Loss Prevention

12FEMA Emergency Management Institute is at www.training.fema.gov/emiweb U.S. Fire Administration, 16825 S. Seton Avenue, Emmits-
burg, Maryland 21727.

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APPENDIX B—CONVERSION FACTORS

Table B-1—Conversion Factors Used in API RP 2001


US Conventional Metric [SI]
1 gal. = 3.785 l
39.37 in. = 1m
1 ft = 0.3048 m
1 BTU/hr = 0.293 Watts
1 BTU/hr/ft2 = 3.155 watts/m2
317 BTU/hr/ft2 = 1.00 kW/m2
1 psi = 6.9 kPa
1 psi = 51.7 mm Hg
1 gpm = 3.785 lpm
1 gpm/ft2 = 40.8 lpm/m2
Temperature ˚F = 32 + (1.8 x ˚C)
1 lb. = 0.454 Kg
2.2 lb. = 1 Kg

39
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0505
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Additional copies are available through Global Engineering


Documents at (800) 854-7179 or (303) 397-7956
Information about API Publications, Programs and Services is
available on the World Wide Web at: http://www.api.org

Product No. K20018


Copyright American Petroleum Institute
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