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Control measure

Apply cooling, considering the potential for reaction with water

Control measure knowledge

Applying cooling to a contaminated oxidising agent is the most effective measure to avoid a fire starting. Where a fuel source and an oxidiser have already mixed, or a spontaneously combustible oxidising material has become unstable, two sides of the fire triangle – oxygen and fuel – are already in place. Therefore, reducing heat is the main option for avoiding fire.

Where the contaminated oxidising material will react with water, take advice from the on-site specialist or hazardous materials adviser (HMA) regarding other possible tactics. Containers can be cooled where the risk of water ingress is low, but the run-off and steam created will need to be considered. See Control measure – Separate oxidising materials from fuel sources. In these cases, undertaking a controlled burn may be the most appropriate tactic. See National Operational Guidance: Environmental protection – Controlled burning.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Have procedures and support arrangements to apply cooling to oxidising materials and have actions for water-reactive oxidising materials

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Identify if the oxidising material or mixture involved in an incident is water-reactive

  • Assess the risk of reaction between oxidising material and cooling water

  • Where appropriate, apply water to cool containers of oxidising material

  • Carry out cooling operations from a safe location, using structural protection and ground monitors where appropriate

  • Carry out firefighting from a safe location using structural protection and/or ground monitors