Insurance Underwriters are Focusing on NFPA 30
Currently, insurance underwriters are paying close attention to NFPA 30, Flammable and Combustible Liquids. In recent years, many plants have received written recommendations by risk management audits to revise the way flammable liquids and chemicals are being stored. Plants have the difficult task of combining the requirements from the NFPA, local authorities, and insurers into one fire protection solution. In some cases, one authority has precedence over another in one aspect of fire protection, but not all. For example, if a fire protection solution has been designed, developed, and tested by an approved testing facility, but does not meet NFPA requirement, if the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) approves, it becomes compliant with NFPA. The complexity of NFPA 30 often results in unintentional non-compliancy.
NFPA 30 is Complex
To give this code perspective, we will compare it to NFPA 13, The Standard for Installation of Sprinkler Systems. NFPA 13 is a code used for every type of Fire Sprinkler System solution.
In this code, there are 26 chapters. In NFPA 30, which has a much smaller population of users, there are 29 chapters, 14 annexes, 1 chart, and 1 form.
To determine each fire protection need, according to NFPA 30, facilities must answer a series of questions before coming to a conclusion. For example, to find out how high a facility can store flammable liquids in vertical stacks, facilities must research and answer the following questions:
1. Is it a liquid (fluidity, viscosity, water-miscible)?
2. What type of liquid is it (flammable, combustible, flash points, boiling points, etc)?
3. What is the liquid classification (IA, IB, II, III, IIIA, IIIB)?
4. What type of occupancy is the liquid stored in (healthcare facility, industrial, processing plant, liquid storage warehouse, etc)?
5. What type of container is the liquid stored in (drums, portable tanks, relieving, non-relieving, immediate bulk containers, etc)?
6. Is there an automatic sprinkler system protecting the space (design flow rate, density, foam/water, etc)?
7. What is the container arrangement (palletized, rack, maximum allowable quantity, etc)?
For each different liquid storage fire protection solution - sprinklers, detection, and a wide-array of physical storage requirements - several questions must be researched and answered. This can be extremely burdensome for facility staff with a variety of responsibilities.
With a combination of fire protection professionals and NFPA 30 provided charts and forms, it is possible to apply this extremely complicated code. If a facility chooses to take on this task independently, it is recommended to utilize figures 16.4.1(a), 16.4.1(b), and 16.4.1(c) (see below) from NFPA 30 to determine the correct section of chapter 16 to apply to the facility's fire protection solution.