The International Titanium Association’s (ITA) Safety Committee, through a series of broadcast emails, will be providing information to ITA members and other interested parties regarding information on fire safety as it relates to companies in the titanium industry. This is the second email notice in the series.
The purpose of this email series is to highlight fire safety material currently posted on the ITA’s website ( The email series also is part of the ITA’s ongoing efforts to reach out and serve the needs of members and maintain a dialogue on important industry and regulatory topics.
For this second installment in the series, the ITA’s safety resources website page makes reference to detailed instructions for emergency response found in the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 484 Standard for Combustible Metal, Chapter 6. Key issues are spelled out in Section 170 of the NFPA’s Emergency Response Guide (ERG). Producers, users of titanium and first responders should consider the guidance described in those documents. Primary considerations for emergency response can be summarized as follows:
Water in contact with molten titanium will result in violent steam and hydrogen explosions and reactions. Water will disassociate to its base compounds of hydrogen and oxygen. You are potentially adding the equivalent of 43 gallons of gasoline for every gallon of water applied to a titanium fire. CO2 will disassociate to its base compounds and create reactions. Clean agents such HFC 227ea, FK-5-1-12, HFC-125 are not effective and may result in hazardous byproducts and exposures by decomposition. Large fires are impossible to extinguish. Isolate the burning titanium material as much as possible, if it can be done safely. Protection of exposures with water streams can be considered, if adequate review is conducted and adequate drainage is present to ensure contact of water with the burning titanium will not occur. Let the fire burn out naturally to minimize the hazards to personnel and loss to exposures.
The NFPA’s 484 Standard for Combustible Metal is an important document for manufactures and end users of titanium. This is an industry standard often cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). There are other standards may also be applicable. For example, the NFPA 1 Fire Code, and NFPA 5000 Building Code include additional regulations and potential construction requirements regarding titanium, based on hazardous materials and control area maximum quantities. It’s important to determine the proper fire and building codes of a given jurisdiction and to follow the appropriate codes.
Access to NFPA codes can be obtained from the main website ( You do not have to be an NFPA member to access the document page or view the document online. It’s also possible to purchase printed and downloaded copies of the individual codes and standards, or obtain access to all the documents through NFPA’s online subscription or hard copy services. NFPA’s codes, standards, recommended practices, and guides are developed through a consensus standards development process approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).