Fire Prevention & Protection, Firefighting, Leadership

High-Pressure Steam Incidents: What You Need to Know

Issue 6 and Volume 170.

BY FRANK MONTAGNA Even if your utility doesn’t pipe high-pressure (HP) steam underground to buildings for heating, you should consider response to HP steam emergencies. About 90 percent of all electrical generation in the United States uses HP steam to spin the turbines that generate the electricity. Do you have a large apartment, industrial, or hospital complex in your response area? Often, housing projects, industrial building complexes, hospitals, and some commercial occupancies have their own electrical generating plants and provide steam for heat or for industrial purposes. If you have any of these buildings in your area, they may use HP steam, and you need to know the dangers of responding to incidents involving HP steam. The various HP steam incidents that you might be called to respond to include an HP steam leak in an electric generating plant, a cataclysmic underground failure of an HP steam distribution system, or…

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