Permit Sonoma Fire Prevention

Informational Bulletin No 2009-04N - Hazard Warning Regulations

Date Issued:January 10, 2009
Bulletin No2009-04N
Topic:NFPA- Hazard Warning Marketing Regulations
Code ReferenceNational Fire Protection Association (NFPA)704,49 California Fire Code (CFC) 2703.5, 407.3
For Use By:Permit Applicants and Staff

Note: This bulletin is a summary of Fire Services interpretations of County and State Codes. Information contained herein applies to typical instances and may not address all circumstances.

Due to the amounts of hazardous materials being stored and used within Sonoma County, an immediate warning system to identify their presence is required. The purpose of this warning system is to provide a "Quick Look" at the potential hazards for emergency responders. The diamond shaped placard identifies the “Health”, “Flammability”, and “Reactivity” hazards of materials and indicates the order of severity of each hazard by the use of numerical grading from four (4), indicating severe hazard or extreme danger, to zero, indicating no required warning. The bottom quadrant is used to identify special hazards important to emergency responders.

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500-nfpa704chart

Rating Number Hazard blueHazard red Hazard yellow
4Can be lethal Will vaporize and readily burn at normal temperatures May explode at normal temperatures and pressures
3 Can cause serious or permanent injury Can be ignited under almost all ambient temperatures May explode at high temperature or shock
2Can cause temporary incapacitation or residual injury Must be heated or high ambient temperature to burn. Violent Chemical change at high temperatures or pressures.
1Can cause significant irritation Must be preheated before ignition can occur Normally stable. High temperatures make unstable
0No hazard Will not burn Stable

Rating Symbol Special Hazard
ALKAlkaline
ACDAcidic
CORCorrosive
OX Oxidizing
3-pronged fan radio acivbe signRadioactivity
 W with line through it Reacts violently or explosively with water
 W with line through it and OX Reacts violently or explosively with water and oxidizing

Number Selection for each Hazard Category

The placard warning system numbers for each hazard category are defined in NFPA-704. A sampling of placards for some commonly encountered chemicals is attached and are also referenced in NFPA-49 "Hazardous Chemicals Data". They may also be found on the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for many products. The numbers are generally determined according to the following criteria:

Health

4 Materials that, on very short exposure, could cause death or major residual injury including those materials which have an inhalation LC50 of 1000 parts per million (ppm) or less, an oral LD50 of 5 mg/Kg or less, or a dermal LD50 of 40 mg/Kg or less.

3 Materials that, on short exposure, could cause serious temporary or residual injury, including those materials which have an inhalation LC50 of 3000 parts per million (ppm) or less, an oral LD50 of 50 mg/Kg or less, or a dermal LD50 of 200 mg/Kg or less.

2 Materials that, on short exposure, could cause temporary incapacitation or possible residual injury, including those materials which have an inhalation LC50 of 5000 parts per million (ppm) or less, an oral LD50 of 500 mg/Kg or less, or a dermal LD50 of 1000 mg/Kg or less.

1 Materials that, on short exposure, could cause serious irritation, but only minor residual injury, including those materials which have an inhalation LC50 of 10000 parts per million (ppm) or less, an oral LD50 of 2000 mg/Kg or less, or a dermal LD50 of 2000 mg/Kg or less.

0 Materials that, on short exposure under fire conditions, would offer no hazards beyond that of ordinary combustibles.

Flammability

All flammable gases and Class I-A flammable liquids, i.e. liquids with a flash point below 73F and a boiling point below 100F.

3 Class I-B and C flammable liquids, i.e liquids with flash point below 100F, but a boiling point above 100F. Materials that burn with extreme rapidity are also included,

e.g. nitrocellulose or organic peroxides.

2 Class II and III-A flammable/combustible liquids, i.e. flash point greater than 100F, but not exceeding 200F. Highly combustible solids are also included.

1 Class III-B combustible liquids, i.e. flash point greater than 200F, and most ordinary combustible materials.

0 Materials that will not burn.

Reactivity

4 Materials readily capable of detonation or explosive reaction at normal temperatures and pressures. Includes materials that are very sensitive to heat, shock or light. Examples would include: Explosives A & B and Organic Peroxides.

3 Materials which when heated and under confinement are capable of detonation and which may react violently with water. A -W- should appear as a special hazard if an explosive reaction with water can be expected. Examples would include: Blasting Agents, Fireworks, and Ammonium Nitrate Fertilizer.

2 Materials which will undergo a violent chemical change at elevated temperatures and pressures but do not detonate. A -W- should appear as a special hazard if contact with water may cause a violent reaction or may cause potentially explosive mixtures to be formed. Examples would include: Combustible Metals and Water Reactive Corrosive Materials.

1 Materials which are normally stable, but may become unstable in combination with other materials or at elevated temperatures and pressures. A -W- should appear as a special hazard if a vigorous but not violent reaction with water may take place. Examples would include: most common Corrosive and Oxidizing Materials.

Spezial Hazard

Special hazard symbols such as -W- (water reactive), OXY (oxidizing material), CRY* (cryogenic material), COR* (corrosive material), or the biohazard* or radiation* warning symbols will be added to the white bottom section of the placard when available information indicates that one of these special hazards exists. When multiple special hazards exist, white panels will be added below the placard to list the additional special hazards that apply.

*Indicates that these are Sonoma County practices that have modified or are in addition to NFPA 704 recommendations.

Requirements for Placards & their Placement

Placard Size Requirements

The required measurements for facility placards are a minimum of fifteen inches by fifteen inches (15"x15") with each category diamond seven and a half inches by seven and a half inches (7 1/2"x7 1/2"). Each category diamond on the placard must have the proper background color. The numbers are to be five inches (5") in height with a three-quarter inch (3/4") stroke and the number is to be centered within its five hundred sixty two and one-half square inch (562.5 sq.in.) diamond. The numbers may be either white or black providing sufficient contrast is made against the background color in each category.

Placards for building or area subdivisions must be no smaller than eight inches by eight inches (8"x8") with the same category diamond color requirements. Numbers should be contrasting white or black and be of an appropriate size to be easily read within each category diamond.

Facility Placards

Facility and building placards identify the highest hazard rating in each category based on the combined materials in a category rating exceeding threshold quantities. Placards shall be affixed to buildings or areas within the facility on each side where entry can be made at an appropriate height to be easily seen upon approaching. A placard must be placed at the property line on a facility gate or post if a placarded building or area within a facility cannot be easily seen when approaching the property. Placards will be required when the following amounts of materials are stored or used at a facility.

Subdivision Placards

Subdivisions (rooms or compartments) of buildings or areas within a facility will be placarded to indicate the greatest possible hazards within those subdivisions. Placards that are placed to identify hazards in building or area subdivisions due to storage or process shall be affixed next to access points into the subdivisions. These placards must be visible when doors into subdivisions are open or closed. Placards will be required when the following amounts of materials are stores or used in a subdivision.

Quantity Determination

The following table is intended to provide guidance in determining the quantities of each classification that warrant placarding.

Health

Color used to identify - blue

Rating NumberAmount Requiring outside placarding on a building or an area within a facility
4Any amount
3Any amount
2More than 100 lbs or 10 gals. Or 50 cu. ft. (aggregate totals of weight or volume)
1More than 500 lbs or 55 gals. Or 200 cu. ft. (aggregate totals of weight or volume)

Flammability

Color used to identify - red

Rating NumberAmount Requiring outside placarding on a building or an area within a facility
4More than 1 lb or 1 gal. or 50 cu. ft. (aggregate totals of weight or volume)
3More than 100 lbs or 10 gal. or 50 cu. ft. (aggregate totals of weight or volume)
2More than 500 lbs or 55gals. or 1000 cu. ft. (aggregate totals of weight or volume)
1More than 1000 lbs or 110 gals or 2000 cu. ft. (aggregate totals of weight or volume)

Reactivity

Color used to identify - yellow

Rating NumberAmount Requiring outside placarding on a building or an area within a facility
4More than 10 lbs or 5 gals or 10 cu. ft. (aggregate totals of weight or volume)
3More than 10 lbs or 5 gals or 50 cu. ft. (aggregate totals of weight or volume)
2More than 100 lbs or 55 gals or 200 cu. ft. (aggregate totals of weight or volume)
1More than 100 lbs or 55 gals or 1000 cu. ft. (aggregate totals of weight or volume)

Commonly Encountered Hazardous Materials

ChemicalHealthFireReacitvity
Acetylene (Dissolved in Acetone)143
Acetic acid221
Acetone230
Ammonia310
Ammonium hydroxide300
Ammonium nitrate103
Arsine441
Acetonitrile230
Argon (gas)000
Argon (cryogenic)300
Butane140
Butyl alcohol230
Calcium hypochloride103
Carbon disulfide240
Carbon monoxide340
Carbon tetrachloride300
Chlorine (gas)301
Chloracetic acid310
Chloroform200
Chromic acid301
Chloropicrin403
Diborane343
Dichlorosilane342
Diesel fuel020
Diethylether241
Ethylene oxide243
Ethanol (grain alcohol)130
Ethylene glycol110
Gasoline230
Hydrazine332
Hydrochloric acid300
Hydrofluoric acid400
Hydrogen cyanide442
Hydrogen peroxide (35-52%)201
Hydrogen040
Isopropyl alcohol230
Methane140
Methylethyl ketone230
Methylene chloride210
Nitric acid (70%)302
Nitric acid (40%)300
Nitrous oxide101
Oxygen001
Oxygen (cryogenic)302
Ozone302
Perchloroethylene200
Phenol420
Phosphine341
Phosphoric Acid200
Phosphorous oxychloride302
Potassium cyanide300
Potassium hydroxide301
Propane140
Silane243
Sodium cyanide300
Sodium hydroxide301
Sodium hypochlorite301
Stoddard solvent220
Sulfuric acid (>93%)302
Sulfuric acid (>80%)301
Toluene230
Trichloroethane200
Trichloroethylene300
Waste Oil120
Xylene230

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