Episode No. 40 Combustible Dust:
The Threat to First RespondersDate: December
John Astad and Justin Clift on Combustible Dust Hazards that are unknowingly present when emergency responders respond to
combustible dust related fires and explosion in the manufacturing, non-manufacturing, utility sectors. In the past, fire-fighter
fatalities and injuries have occurred when responding to these incidents. These occurrences could have been prevented if responders
understood the hidden and unknown dangers of combustible dust found throughout the diverse multitude of manufacturing facilities.
Currently a situational awareness is lacking nationwide that combustible dust also poses a potential explosive atmosphere
in the same light as flammable gases, vapors, and mists. Instead of vapor cloud or BLEVE explosions that occur in the refining
sector there are deflagrations and dust explosions in the manufacturing sector. According to OSHA, “any combustible
material (and some materials normally considered noncombustible) can burn rapidly when in a finely divided form. If such a
dust is suspended in air in the right concentration, it can become explosive. The force from such an explosion can cause employee
deaths, injuries, and destruction of entire buildings.
John Astad, a resident of Galveston
County Texas, is Director and Research Analyst of the Combustible Dust Policy Institute. John also works in the oil and gas
industry as a Loading Master-PIC coordinating marine transfer operations of refined petroleum products between marine vessels
and the marine terminal in the petroleum refinery sector. Prior to working shore side, John sailed for six years on tanker
ships, ocean-going barges, and offshore supply vessels on coastal routes as a deck officer and able-bodied seaman.
Combining experience in marine transportation,
in 2006 John developed a marine intelligence vessel tracking service utilizing Geographical Information System (GIS) technology
in conjunction with a Google Mash-Up which maritime managers utilize in managing their resources in conjunction with vessel
John also tracks and researches combustible
dust related fires and explosions at the Combustible Dust Policy Institute in determining the probability and severity of
occurrence of incidents The results of this business intelligence data can be utilized by a myriad of stakeholders in the
public and private sectors in developing cost effective strategies in assessing risk concerning combustible dust hazards in
John’s formal educational background
includes earning B.S. Business and Public Administration from the University of Houston-Clear Lake in 2002 with a major in
Justin Clift is the Industrial Market
Specialist with Hazard Control Technologies (HCT) in Fayetteville, GA. Justin is a 2005 graduate of The Ohio State University
with a degree in Arts and Sciences. Currently, Justin provides consulting services and training courses on both the Piercing
Rod and PRB Coal Awareness on behalf of HCT, as well as providing other solutions for fire protection in the utility industry.
He also has first hand experience in extinguishing coal fires across the country as part of HCT’s Emergency Response
Team. Justin is also a guest speaker at the Combustible Dust Hazard Workshop at IFSS 2009 where he will be speaking on Combustible
Dust Fire Suppression and Neutralization.