The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has released a new fact sheet to help clear up misconceptions about ammonium nitrate dangers. Available in English and Spanish, this resource for code officials, business owners, and facility management was developed following the catastrophic explosion in Beirut, Lebanon that reportedly killed 190 people, injured 6,500 more, left an estimated 300,000 residents homeless, and resulted in $10–15 billion(US) in property damage.
An October 22 blog post from NFPA explains:
Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound produced in both solid and liquid form that is commonly used in fertilizers. Pure ammonium nitrate is stable, and when stored properly, it poses few safety hazards. Destabilization, however, can occur when flames or fire heats the ammonium nitrate causing it to become self-reactive and give off gases that are flammable and can ignite.
The fact sheet offers information for facility management, including:
How to Increase Facility Protection
If there are dangerous or highly dangerous conditions in a facility, some initial steps to take immediately include:
- Make sure ammonium nitrate is not confined or contaminated
- Remove ammonium nitrate storage from basements or combustible bins
- Make sure local emergency responders are aware of what is stored in the facility
- Have an emergency response plan prepared
- Have constant fire monitoring