CONDITIONS PRODUCING EXPLOSIONS
Three conditions must be present to produce an explosion--first, a flammable
agent (gas, vapor, or liquid) must be present; then, there must be a source of ignition as
well as oxygen or a substance providing oxygen. (See figure below of explosion
representation). The elimination of any one of these conditions is an important factor in
the prevention of explosions.
NOTE: The above figure is representative of an explosion.
ELIMINATION OF COMBUSTIBLE (FLAMMABLE) AGENTS
a. Anesthetic Agents. Standard anesthetic agents that are flammable are ethyl
ether, vinyl ether (divinyl) oxide; trade name--Vinethene), and ethyl chloride.
Flammable agents that are not standard items are cyclopropane and ethylene. As a
means of eliminating the danger associated with the use of these agents, the excess
concentration of gas, vapor, or liquid fumes may be reduced. Ventilating or air-
conditioning systems which provide complete exchanges of air will aid in reducing the
concentration of gases and prevent the formation of pockets of gas in the room.
(1) Ether is easily spilled because it is liquid and its fumes may then collect
near the floor as well as near the anesthesia area. Care must be exercised that this
agent is not spilled on the drapes or blankets used for covering the patient because of
the serious fire hazard.