According to the Consumer and Hazardous Products Safety Directorate due to several incidents resulting in fatalities and serious injuries from fire jets erupting from pourable alcohol-based fuels and portable containers, safety guidelines have been updated to restrict the transportation of these fuels without proper safety equipment.
According to the ASTM-F3429 and F349M-20 publications containers that lack adequate flame mitigation safety equipment that meets the technical specifications laid out in the notices pose a danger to human life.
The Transport & Safety Details
All products that are deemed dangerous to human life or safety are prohibited from transport, advertisement, manufacture, and sale in Canada. Products that are deemed dangerous if it is foreseeable that in their normal operation, they could cause serious injury or death. According to the Directorate’s investigation, these portable containers were responsible for the fire jets because they lacked fire suppression and safety measures.
Essentially, according to the updated Notices, all containers that transport alcohol-based fuels must meet the safety guidelines outlined in the notices or they are per se illegal and could subject the owner and/or operator to fines or other punishments. The scope of the notices affects two types of products: (1) portable firepots and containers holding pourable alcohol-based fuels.
Portable firepots are devices that use pourable fuels and are not fixed (i.e., they can be moved around). These are devices that are “plug and play” – they don’t need specialized tools or need to be installed. Portable firepots include a broad range of consumer items such as:
- Fire burners,
- Patio burners,
- Flame pots,
- Portable fireplaces,
- Firebowls, and
- Fire pits.
Notice that all of these products are free-standing and are not attached to or embedded in anything. Therefore, portable firepots would exclude installed fireplaces, fire pits, grills, and other devices that are attached or fixed to a space.
Containers of pourable alcohol-based fuels, while by themselves are not dangerous, when used to transport in conjunction with a firepot can result in danger to human life. The scope of the order includes portable fuels such as chafing fuels, camping stoves, lighter fluid, and fire starters. The authorities are primarily concerned with containers that have a bottled neck and are not refillable. The order specifically excludes alcohol-based cleaning solutions, de-icing products, combustion engine fuels, jerry cans, and alcohol-based fuels that are in single-use pastes or canisters.