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Control measure

Select appropriate firefighting media: Flammable liquids

Control measure knowledge

This control measure should be read in conjunction with National Operational Guidance: Fires and firefighting: Select appropriate firefighting media

Selecting the correct firefighting media is key to successfully extinguishing flammable liquid fires.

Foam is the typical media for dealing with flammable liquid fires. However, for water miscible liquids it may be possible to dilute the material to a level that is no longer flammable. This would only be possible for relatively small fires.

With a flowing spill fire, it is generally best to start at the furthest point of the fire and work towards the source of spillage. It is good practice to form a deep blanket of foam beyond the furthest point at the lowest level so that the flowing burning product will flow beneath this and be extinguished. Under certain circumstances it may be necessary to dig a trench or construct dykes made of earth to retain burning product; sandbags may also prove adequate.

Rapid deployment of containment, such as polybooms and inflatable hose, around running fuels will start to contain the spillage and allow the foam blanket to seal against the side of the polyboom.

See National Operational Guidance: Fires and firefighting – Select appropriate firefighting media

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Provide procedures and support arrangements regarding the hazards that may be encountered and actions to take for selecting and using appropriate firefighting media with ignited flammable liquids

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Ensure sufficient resources are in place prior to commencing any foam attack

  • Consider using dry powder extinguishers to extinguish the fire at the source of the leak

  • Consider using fine water spray to cool flammable liquid fire where necessary