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How Long Can a Spark Smolder?

Posted by Dr. P. Andrew Karam on 2/1/2016 to fire safety
Hello! We do a lot of grinding and welding, which can throw some sparks. How long can a spark smolder? And are there any other fire safety tips you can give us? Thanks! Interesting question – and the answer’s a bit more complicated than you might think. I was in the Navy for several years and we had to set a Fire Watch whenever hot work was taking place; in addition we had to keep a re-flash watch stationed after any fire had been put out, to make sure it didn’t flare back up when we left. Having a fire on a submarine is bad enough; even worse to have it come back. There were no hard-and-fast rules as to how long to station the re-flash watch or how long to keep the Fire Watch set after the hot work ended – normally we’d let it go after about a half hour, but it depended on a couple of factors.