Is sawdust a fire hazard

Fire prevention


Beware of a dust explosion!

We are not really aware that dust can ignite suddenly. But it is still like this: Open fire, e.g. a candle, sparks etc. and blown dust particles form an explosive mixture. Especially in carpentry (sawdust) and bakeries (flour) there is an increased risk, but such situations can also arise in the home workshop or kitchen. When baking cookies, for example, do not necessarily leave the Advent wreath next to it ...
If something happens, call 112 for the emergency services and fire brigade!

No open fire if there is a risk of dust!


How does a dust explosion come about?

The flammability or flammability of a substance also depends on the size of the surface. The more vulnerable surface, the more a sudden combustion reaction must be expected. We know it from the campfire or when lighting the stove: a large block of wood does not burn as quickly and well as chips. And to start the fire, wood wool is a good means. In the case of dust, the surface and thus the attack / burn area is much larger.

When a cloud of dust ignites, the flames spread explosively over the entire surface of the dust grains, causing a deflagration.

Further requirements are the appropriate concentration of dust in the air (one speaks of 30 to 60 grams per cubic meter), an ignition source (open fire, candle, Bunsen burner, etc.) and oxygen. These are the classic components of a combustion.

Baking next to a candle is therefore safe for the time being if the flour concentration in the air is not too high, i.e. there is no "kitchen fight" with flour dust.

There is also a risk of explosion with metal dust.


Be careful when extinguishing where there is dust!

Increased caution is also required when extinguishing a fire. Just as you must never extinguish burning fat / oil with water, there is also a danger here. If there is a fire in areas with increased dust (whether sawdust, flour, metal dust or other), no dust must be raised when the fire is extinguished. Otherwise you will have exactly this dust explosion effect.

We at the fire brigade must also pay attention to this when it says: "Fire in the bakery", "Fire in the sawmill", "Fire in the workshop".

PHOTOS (to come)


Workshop "Dust Explosion" Fire brigade course for children and young people on May 3, 2014 in Ahl;
Demonstration: Markus Leibold, Thorsten Klug (Ulmbach Fire Brigade); Photos: Frank L. Seidl




Frank L. Seidl (Ahl / Salmünster fire department)
Fire chief

Created: 05/06/2014

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