Ethanol: Crossing the Industrial/Municipal Interface

RECENT TRANSPORTATION INCIDENTS HAVE SHED light on an emerging challenge facing fire departments across the country. Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) and ethanol blends are becoming more prevalent in our economy. Firefighters must understand the unique atmospheric and burn characteristics of this product so they can effectively and safely handle spills or fire scenarios involving these flammable liquids. In addition, firefighters should be aware of the shortcomings of employing common traditional response tactics at incidents involving this product. The ethanol component of blended gasolines, such as E10 and E85, has dramatically changed the chemistry of “new fuel” fires and, consequen...

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