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What are highly flammable materials?

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Quick Answer

Highly flammable materials refer to substances that are easily set on fire. Such items need to be stored carefully to prevent possible combustion. Examples of highly flammable substances include propane and ethanol.

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Full Answer

Gasoline is the most common flammable liquid found in homes. Others include paint solvents, diesel fuel, kerosene, propane, oil and dry cleaning agents. The United States Department of Labor divides flammable liquids into two groups: flammable and combustible. Combustible liquids give off vapor at 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, which is their flashpoint, while flammable liquids give off vapor under 100 degrees. The flashpoint of a liquid affects its volatility since it is the liquid vapor that burns and not the actual liquid. The lower the liquid flashpoint, the more flammable it becomes.

To prevent accidental fires, safety professionals recommend that flammable materials be stored carefully. Flammable liquids should be stored in safety cans, with the lid secured tightly. They should also be kept in a well ventilated room and away from any potential heat source. This includes electrical equipment, heating units, torches or any machine with a grinding or crushing motion that may cause sparks. In the event of a spill, the flammable liquid should be wiped dry and the windows opened to air the room.

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