Fire Safety in the Laboratory

Pete Caudle, Asecos Inc.

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Laboratories contain many hazards including flammable chemicals. Flammable chemicals in the laboratory can be classified as three distinct types--gases, liquids, and solids. Understanding and storage of flammable chemicals is essential to keep building occupants and assets safe. Codes drive many thoughts and choices behind the storage of hazardous chemicals in the built environment, although superseding the codes with innovative designs and products will provide a safer working environment and laboratory. Many codes address this topic, such as the International Building code, UL, ULC, and NFPA. We will review each briefly with regards to hazardous chemical storage. Although perceived as very complex, fire safety in the laboratory can be narrowed to understanding the fire triangle and limiting one or more sides of the triangle with proper techniques and storage.

Learning Objectives

  • Explain the fire triangle to enhance the safety of the occupants of the laboratory;
  • Describe the importance of using ventilation to reduce the chances of fire, explosion and exposure to the chemicals;
  • Investigate segregation and storage of chemicals per the Global Harmonized Systems and the MSDS sheets of each; and
  • Explain the importance of education and empowerment to provide fire protection to each person who will be in the laboratory space.


Pete is a highly technical Sales Manager with a demonstrated history of specializing in safety and hazardous storage, environmental protection and the construction industry. He is skilled in risk analysis, risk mitigation, team building, and management. With his BA in Biology/Chemistry, he brings a unique point of few when working towards safety solutions. His passion and mission are focused in protecting our people, first responders, the environment, and our assets and research.


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