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Handbook of Fire and Explosion Protection Engineering Principles
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Handbook of Fire and Explosion Protection Engineering Principles

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Handbook of Fire and Explosion Protection Engineering Principles for Oil, Gas, Chemical and Related Facilities Third Edition by Dennis P. Nolan

The Author: Dennis P. Nolan has had a long career devoted to fire protection engineering, risk engineering, loss prevention engineering, and system safety engineering.

He holds a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Business Administration from Berne University, Master of Science degree in Systems Management from Florida Institute of Technology.

His Bachelor of Science degree is in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland. He is also a US-registered Fire Protection Engineering, Professional Engineer, in the State of California.

Contents of Fire and Explosion Protection Engineering Principles

  • Historical Background, Legal Influences, Management Responsibility, and Safety Culture
  • Overview of Oil, Gas, and Petrochemical Facilities
  • Philosophy of Protection Principles
  • Physical Properties of Hydrocarbons and Petrochemicals
  • Characteristics of Hazardous Material Releases, Fires, and Explosions
  • Historical Survey of Major Fires and Explosions in the Process Industries
  • Risk Analysis
  • Segregation, Separation, and Arrangement
  • Grading, Containment, and Drainage Systems
  • Process Controls
  • Emergency Shutdown
  • Depressurization, Blowdown, and Venting
  • Overpressure and Thermal Relief
  • Control of Ignition Sources
  • Elimination of Process Releases
  • Fire and Explosion Resistant Systems
  • Fire and Gas Detection and Alarm Systems
  • Evacuation Alerting and Arrangements
  • Methods of Fire Suppression
  • Special Locations, Facilities, and Equipment
  • Human Factors and Ergonomic Considerations

Preface to Fire and Explosion Protection Engineering Principles

The security and economic stability of many nations and multinational oil and chemical companies is highly dependent on the safe and uninterrupted operation of their oil, gas, and chemical facilities.

One of most critical impacts than can occur to these operations is fire and explosion events from an incident.

This publication is intended as a general engineering handbook and reference guideline to those individuals involved with fire and explosion prevention and protection aspects of these critical facilities.

The first edition of this book was published when there was not much information available on process safety, the US CSB had not been established and the CCPS was just beginning to publish its guidance books on process safety.

At that time there was a considerable void of process safety information that may have lead to some serious incidents that occurred in the industry.

The main objective of the 3rd Edition of this book is to update and expand the information to the current practices of process safety management and technical engineering improvements which have occurred since its original publication.

The main objective of this handbook is to provide some background understanding of fire and explosion problems at oil, gas, and chemical facilities and as a general reference material for engineers, designers, and others facing fire protection issues that can be practically applied.

It should also serve as a reminder for the identification of unexpected hazards that can exist at a facility. As stated, much of this book is intended as a guideline.

It should not be construed that the material presented herein is the absolute requirement for any facility. Indeed, many organizations have their own policies, standards, and practices for the protection of their facilities.

Portions of this book are a synopsis of common practices being employed in the industry and can be referred to where such information is outdated or unavailable.

Numerous design guidelines and specifications of major, small, and independent oil companies as well as information from engineering firms and published industry references have been reviewed to assist in its preparation.

Some of the latest practices and research into fire and explosion prevention have also been mentioned. This book is not intended to provide in-depth guidance on basic risk assessment principles nor on fire and explosion protection foundations or design practices.

Several other excellent books are available on these subjects and some references to these are provided at the end of each chapter.

The scope of this book is to provide practical knowledge on the guidance in the understanding of prevention and mitigation principals and methodologies from the effects of hydrocarbon fires and explosions.

Explosions and fire protection engineering principles for the hydrocarbon and chemical industries will continually be researched, evolved, and expanded, as is the case with any engineering discipline.

This handbook does not profess to contain all the solutions to fire and explosion concerns associated with the industry.

It does however, try to shed some insight into the current practices and trends being applied today. From this insight, professional expertise can be obtained to examine detailed design features to resolve concerns of fires and explosions.

Updated technical information is always needed so that industrial processes can be designed to achieve to optimum risk levels from the inherent material hazards but still provide acceptable economical returns.

The field of fire protection encompasses various unrelated industries and organizations, such as the insurance field, research entities, process industries, and educational organizations.

Many of these organizations may not realize that their individual terminology may not be understood by individuals or even compatible with the nomenclature used, outside their own sphere of influence.

It is therefore prudent to have a basic understanding of these individual terms in order to resolve these concerns. This book focuses on terminology that is applied and used in fire protection profession.

Therefore NFPA standards and interpretations are utilized as the primary guidelines for the definitions and explanations.

This book is based mainly on the terminology used in United States codes, standards, and regulations. It should be noted that some countries may use similar terminology, but the terminology may be interpreted differently.

The term accident often implies that the event was not preventable. From a loss prevention perspective, use of this term is discouraged, since an accident should always be considered preventable and the use of “incident” has been recommended instead. Therefore, the term accident has generally been replaced by incident.

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