International Association of Fire Chiefs Sponsor Ammonium Nitrate Guidelines
The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) has sponsored Safety and Security Guidelines for Ammonium Nitrate (AN Guidelines) developed by the Institute of Makers of Explosives (IME), with support from the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association.
IME members consume upwards of 75 percent of all ammonium nitrate (AN) used in the United States. Following the tragic accident at West, TX, IME produced best practice guidelines for AN safety and security. The AN Guidelines capture all relevant federal regulations and industry best practices in one document. While we wait for findings and recommendations from on-going investigations to determine appropriate next steps to prevent future “West, TX” catastrophes, we continue to believe that existing regulations, if followed, are protective of workers and the public, with two major exceptions. OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910.109(i) regulations should be updated; (1) to require noncombustible materials for bins and structures used to store AN, and (2) to train emergency responders to evacuate at risk populations when fire has engaged the AN, not to attempt to fight such fires. The IAFC shares our view. The fire response community was most directly harmed by the West, TX incident. The IAFC’s leadership on AN safety standards should be commended.