‘The refuelling of flammable liquids (oil, diesel, petrol) or flammable gases, is mainly carried out in close proximity to fuel depots and power plants. During the refuelling process, a leakage of the flammable gas or liquid may occur. If these gases come into contact with atmospheric oxygen, this will lead to a significant fire or explosion risk.
The following three factors play a key role in the development of fire in refuelling stations
- Fire load through the flammable liquids and gases.
- Ignition source through overheated brakes or hot engine parts.
- Oxygen in the ambient air.
Improper handling when refuelling (human error) or a simple material defect (e.g. burst hose) can quickly have catastrophic effects.
For the above-mentioned reasons, a professional and comprehensive fire protection concept is necessary. An automatic fire detection system combined with an extinguishing device is essential. The area around the refuelling station is at risk of explosion and this must be taken into consideration when selecting the equipment and assembly material.
The system may be designed as follows:
- Infrared flame detectors installed for the detection of a fire. These should be aligned in such away that the entire refuelling area is covered.
- A water spray extinguishing system could be used to fight the fire. The extinguishing water would be mixed with extinguishing foam. Any possible leakages of liquids are covered with a foam film to shield the flammable medium from atmospheric oxygen. Foam generators would be installed to ensure an extensive foam coverage on the ground. The areas beneath the vehicles (HGVs) can therefore be covered with extinguishing foam.