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According to API RP 2021:2015 “Management of Atmospheric Storage Tank Fires”


“Management of Atmospheric Storage Tank Fires”
6 Planning for Tank Fire Management
The planning phase starts with a scenario analysis for the specific facility to determine “what might happen” and “what would need to be done”. Based on the planning phase, subsequent activities involve advance preparation (Section 7, making sure that fire fighting resources will be available) and, if necessary, actual fire suppression which activates the incident management system to implement plans using resources identified during preparation.
These are: developing an incident management organization/system; surveying the facility to assess factors related to fire potential; identifying the types of fires that can occur at the facility; developing a fire protection/suppression philosophy for each type of fire; developing specific pre-fire plans for each tank with a fire risk and developing a plan to meet the logistics needs.
These steps are discussed in the following sections:
Every facility needs an Incident Management System (IMS) to cover the range of possible emergency events that could occur. Facility management, through existing knowledge or survey, should determine if there is a potential for a tank fire which should be addressed (see 6.3.1 for assistance in determining tank fire potential). If there is, then the first planning action should confirm that an appropriate IMS is in place and can accommodate tank fire emergencies. An IMS comes first because it will be needed in the event a tank fire occurs before planning and preparation are finished.
The logistics associated with major tank fire incidents can be complex. The Incident Command System (ICS) is well suited for managing such incidents. ICS planning for a resource intensive tank fire emphasizes logistics, effective manpower control and coordination, and communication of information both internally and externally. ICS provides a structure for coordinating facility personnel and operations, local fire departments, mutual aid organizations, and equipment responding to an emergency. Coordination of incident management concepts and procedures with potential industrial and public mutual aid responders’ plans is highly recommended.
Training and education is necessary for ICS to function effectively. This need includes all personnel (including management) who will assume ICS roles.
Firefighting is only one aspect of handling a major tank fire incident. An Emergency Operations Center is frequently used to provide a physical location for coordinating the wide range of related emergency activities associated with a highly visible, resource intensive tank fire incident.

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Selection and implementation of strategy and tactics should be accomplished by the incident commander and the incident operations chief based on the facility tank fire suppression philosophy, pre-incident tank-specific plans and the
assessment information from 8.3. Strategy relates to planning; tactics are the physical acts that accomplish the goals.
The three strategies discussed in 6.6 were:
A passive strategy involves no fire fighting activities; the fire will be allowed to burn out and the area evacuated if necessary for personnel safety.
A defensive strategy protects personnel and exposed equipment and allows the fire to burn out.
An offensive strategy is an aggressive attack to attempt to extinguish the tank.
The strategy for fighting tank fires should be developed in advance, as part of the facility emergency action plans .
The tactics used at a tank fire should implement the strategic plan, including the site philosophy regarding pumping out tanks. In some cases, conditions present at the time of the fire (adverse weather, multiple tank involvement, extensive ground fires) will not be anticipated in the tank-specific plan. The incident operations chief can use the plan as the basis for developing a strategy and tactics applicable to the situation encountered.
Resource assembly and utilization consists of staging, organizing, locating and using available fire fighting resources to achieve the strategic objectives set by the incident operations chief.
Adoption of the tank fire suppression guidelines presented should be based on applicable data from the facility to which they will be applied as well as information presented in this publication. No guideline can replace good fire-fighting judgment. Many variables are present in every emergency andsound on-the-spot judgment should be exercised in choosinga proper course of action.
Irrespective of the response approach taken the appropriate regulatory, community and corporate emergency notifications should be made.

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