3 little known facts about flammable gas that could save your life

Contrary to popular belief, gas detectors are not classified as Category 3 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Weird right? But that doesn’t mean that they’re not important. They provide an effective warning system for workers operating in dangerous environments, so deciding on the type of gas detection system for your business isn’t always a decision you can make off the cuff.


Here at Gas Alarm Systems, we’ve been delivering unrivalled Flammable and Toxic Gas Detection Systems to customers across a wide range of industries for over 25 years. Each of our solutions is built to our own exacting standards, and adheres to all relevant UK regulations, allowing you to have total peace of mind that your gas detection system is protecting you against even the mildest of gas leaks.

You’re probably all too keenly aware of the main dangers that flammable gases pose to your business and employees. Some of the more well known dangers that flammable gases present include risk of suffocation, and the risk of explosions when they come into contact with an ignition source like a naked flame or electrical spark. These are the main ones, but there are a couple of extra things you need to keep in mind that could be the difference in preventing a potential fatal accident. Here are a few little known facts about flammable gas that could potentially save your life.

Oxygen does not start fires

This is a very common misconception that we hear fairly often. Contrary to popular belief, oxygen does not cause explosions or flash fires. For a fire to start, it needs a combination of three things: a source of ignition (a naked flame for example), a combustible material (this is the fuel, so in this case a flammable gas) and oxygen. So no, oxygen on its own cannot start fires, and will only produce a flame when combined with these other two elements.

Chlorine trifluoride is the most flammable gas

By all scientific accounts, chlorine trifluoride has been proven to be the most flammable of all the chemical gases. It’s deceptively colourless, extremely reactive, and capable of burning through concrete and gravel. Perhaps the most concerning fact about this gas though is that it can burn without any ignition source, therefore exceeding the oxidising power of even oxygen itself. The chemical’s instability and reactive properties make it incredibly dangerous to handle, and as a result it’s rarely used nowadays.

Not all flammability limits are the same

For a chemical gas to ignite, the concentration limit in the air needs to be within a certain range. This range is referred to as the flammability limit, and this can vary depending on the combustible liquids and gases you’re using. In order to understand the limit of flammability for your specific gas, you’ll need to be aware of its LEL (lower explosive limit) and UEL (upper explosive limit) values. A concentration level that’s lower than the LEL is considered too thin to burn. On the other hand, a gas or vapour that exceeds the UEL is considered too rich to burn. So, anything with a concentration level between the LEL and UEL values is very likely to be flammable.

Our Flammable and Toxic Gas Detection Systems are tuned to very precise sensitivities, so you can trust them to react instantaneously when any toxic gases in the air reach potentially hazardous (or even lethal) levels.

Nothing gets past them, and we can provide both Fixed Gas Detection Systems, and Portable Gas Monitors to give you complete protection from asphyxiate, toxic and flammable gases. Our extensive in-house experts always take care to ensure you receive nothing short of the best service, so if you have any questions or need any advice, by all means call us on 01423 862240, and we’ll be happy to see how we can help.