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Mitigate against the risk of fire and explosion


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I am about to sign a lease on premises for my distillery.

The fire safety officer has asked these questions:

1) Please confirm on how you intend to mitigate against the risk of fire and explosion
2) Please confirm that you will have adequate natural or mechanical ventilation in the distillery

I don't intend to worry about the finer points of health & safety until I employ the services of a consultant. I cannot do that until I know the exact layout of the premises after moving in, and the distillery layout.

How should I answer? Any ideas?

I have already explained that I don't intend to put 96% ethanol into the stills. The ethanol will be diluted to 35% before putting into the stills - this was something they were worried about.

Is anybody using floor based fans? It is not possible to put in roof fans since there is a railway above.

Edit to add:

One thing they are worried about is the transfer of 96% ethanol to the diluting drum before transfer to the still.
I've explained that a hand pump will transfer the ethanol into another drum with a lid on, so no vapour escapes.

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If you search on the word ventilation you will find this topic has been well discussed.  Since many codes are derived from International Standards most of what you need to know may be in something I started many months ago titled "what is adequate ventilation".  The answer to that question is in the hands of the AHJ (authority having jurisdiction).


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welshbrew.  I would tell them that all ethanol transfer areas will meet the requirements of NFPA 70 515.3 NFPA 497 fig 5.10.6 container filling.    For proper ventilation according to NFPA 497 3.3.1 (6 air changes per hr or 1cfm per square ft of floor area).  There is a great deal more info that you need, to get everything set up right.


I am starting to do some safety consulting.  I have a pre prepared document that will help you set your distillery up properly to pass your safety inspections.  The document has a drawing and lays out the hazardous environments around the still.  In the main, these areas are class 1 div 2.  Instead of thousands in consulting fees. I can sell you a copy of the document for only $300.00   We will be producing other safety documents down the road.  We are now supplying these documents to our customers for free.  These documents are based on the NFPA recomandations. 


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54 minutes ago, Welshbrew said:

Right now - from me.

I'm reluctant to employ an engineer until I have the lease.

so just tell them that when the time comes to set up and run you will consult with a certified engineer to insure that all operations meet your local (whatever they are in UK) safety standards 



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You may be better served by simply asking what would he like to see you do to satisfy these requirements within our municipality.  After all, he's the guy you need to please and he is the one (along with whoever he consults with) that you need to please.  Regardless of what any consultant (including us) tells you, the AHJ is the boss.  This technique worked well for me and frankly our consultants interpreted the specs more strictly than our AHJ.  The AHJ was quite happy that we asked him what he wanted to see beforehand.  Furthermore, you should not sign your lease without having his input.  What if you sign and he tells you he wants venting that your landlord will not allow?

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I spent quite a lot of money guarding against fire and explosion, but what I really worry about is electrocution. I notice people don't think too much about that, but there is a lot of free water in and around a distillery and it would be easy to have an errant extension cord or something come into contact with it. So, I tend to be cautious about everything. 

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