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Developed and maintained by the NFCC

Control measure

Identify the potential explosive effects due to the failure of a cryogenic gas container

Control measure knowledge

Constant venting through the pressure relief valve or the container bulging are signs of an increase in temperature. By liaising with on-site personnel, any safety features of the container can be identified and it may be possible to monitor changes. Any safety features that prevent or mitigate catastrophic failure can also be identified.

Due to the extremely cold temperatures at which cryogenic materials are stored, even materials that may be viewed as cold under normal circumstances (e.g. water) are at a much higher temperature than cryogenic liquids, so would provide sufficient energy for rapid boiling of the cryogenic liquid.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Ensure that personnel have access to advice regarding the specific hazards presented by released cryogenic materials

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Identify triggers for a rapid expansion of a cryogenic liquid

  • Ensure that no other substances are allowed ingress into the container 

  • Ensure that substances which may be reactive with cryogenic materials are kept separated

  • Identify signs that the pressure inside a cryogenic container has increased

  • Establish if any loss of cooling or insulation of the cryogenic container has occurred

  • Liaise with on-site personnel to determine safety features of the container

  • Use signs, labels, markings and container types to identify the presence of cryogenic materials

  • Avoid water and other extinguishing media entering any cryogenic containment system