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#49188 - 09/16/05 06:10 PM Using Streamlight flashlight in gas leak?
Arney Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Can someone with technical knowledge of hazardous environment certifications comment on the scenario below? I've looked these classifications up but I'm still not sure what they mean in terms of real world situations.

I love my Streamlight Propolymer LED (non-Lux version) as a general, around-the-house flashlight (bought it at Costco before the Lux version came out). I know that some people have had overheating problems with it, but it has worked great for me and I love the broad, even flood that it throws. Perfect for household use IMHO. It sits on my nightstand.

This light has all these certifications: Class I, Division 1,Groups C, D; Class I, Division 2, Groups A, B, C, D; Class II, Division 2, Group G; Class III, T3C. And interestingly, in writing this post, I just found that the 4AA model is also: Permissible for use in Gassy Mines. Methane/air only, but not the 3N or 3C cell models. I have the 4AA model.

So, given this scenario: I live in SoCal, a violent earthquake wakes me in the middle of night and turns my bed into a theme park ride. When the shaking stops, the power is out and it's completely dark. I can smell gas. Can I safely turn on my Streamlight so I can see my way out of there, confident that I won't blow up the building?

I suppose adding some chem light sticks next to the bed might not be a bad idea, too. And maybe replacing my crowbar with a non-sparking titanium one, too! And I should secure this stuff to the bed instead of having them sit on the nightstand so they don't get thrown across the room during a bad one.

#49189 - 09/16/05 10:22 PM Re: Using Streamlight flashlight in gas leak?
JohnN Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 966
Loc: Seattle, WA

You might try posting this question on Candlepowerforums.com.


#49190 - 09/17/05 06:53 AM Re: Using Streamlight flashlight in gas leak?
benjammin Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4018
Loc: Anchorage AK
I would think the primary hazard of using a flashlight in a combustible/flammable environment would be breaking the bulb, which in the case of an LED is not a concern. Next down the list would be contact closure arcing, which in low current applications should also not be a factor. If you are using a higher power LED or hybrid matrix, then the switch in the flashlight ought to be FM rated at the least. Beyond that, I don't expect much risk.
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

#49191 - 09/17/05 04:00 PM Re: Using Streamlight flashlight in gas leak?

I have no Idea of any details of the lights you are speaking of.
If you are worried that it may not be safe, you might like to try and take it apart and seal it some how, or even put some extra grease on the O Ring seals if it uses them.

The manifacturer may make the entire range technically intrinsically safe, but for cost reasons they may have only tested 1 model to be certified, therefor covering themselves in case of a lawsuit.

I have a friend who works in those environments, and they will not allow anything without the certification to be used even if it is safe.
I cant remember the brand, but one of the lights they use is exactly the same as the off the shelf model except but it uses a different colour plastic and cost 3 times the price because it has a certificate to say its safe.

#49192 - 09/17/05 04:30 PM Re: Using Streamlight flashlight in gas leak?
Arney Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Let me see if I understand your point correctly, Biggzie. You're saying that your friend's workplace requires that the actual flashlight in his hand has been individually tested and certified to be safe in a given hazardous environment? I can imagine that in depth testing like that would really drive up the price of each flashlight--but definitely cheap compared to the potential consequences.

Are any firefighters, petrochem, or utility workers reading this thread? How do you folks know your flashlights are safe to use, say, around a gas leak? Do you have to make sure that the actual flashlight on your belt is safe, or do you just need to use an approved model that has certification x,y,z?

Since the 4AA model of this flashlight is "Permissible for use in Gassy Mines. Methane/air only" I'm thinking that it would be safe to use in the scenario I outlined in the parent post. I just need to remember to remind my wife not to instinctively flip on the light switch on the way out of the dark room! <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

#49193 - 09/17/05 04:45 PM Re: Using Streamlight flashlight in gas leak?
Arney Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Hi folks. I've had time to Google around and I think I have found the answer to my question. Simply put, yes, I can switch on my Streamlight Propolymer and be confident that I won't blow myself up in the presence of a gas leak after an earthquake.

I found a nice description of these Class and Division categories here Defining Class I specifications and subgroups

If you're looking for a light that is safe around natural gas leaks, looks like you want a flashlight that is approved for Class I, Division 1, Group C, D which is exactly what the Streamlight Proplymer series is approved for.

Like I said in the parent, it's a great general purpose flashlight.

#49194 - 09/17/05 07:36 PM Re: Using Streamlight flashlight in gas leak?

I keep an old Browning Saberlight, a/k/a Pelican 2000, by my bed for that exact reason. I also have an older UK dive light that is similarly rated.

I think a rule of thumb is that if it is dave rated it is OK.

#49195 - 09/18/05 12:34 AM Re: Using Streamlight flashlight in gas leak?
Arney Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
I think a rule of thumb is that if it is dive rated it is OK.

Y'know, randjack, that makes sense. If you can make a light that will withstand multiple atmospheres of pressure and keep all that high pressure water out of your light, it should be able to isolate any electrical connections from any natural gas floating around in the air. I'm not sure if there's more to making a safe flashlight for hazardous environments than that single point, but I did look up your Browning light on the Pelican website. If it's the Pelican Super Sabrelite 2000 then it is indeed Class I, Div 1, Group C,D approved (e.g. natural gas environment) so it seems that you're GTG in the next big earthquake. <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

#49196 - 09/18/05 06:43 AM Re: Using Streamlight flashlight in gas leak?

Yeah, I didn' repeat all that classification info that is stamped on the barrell of the Browning light. It just seems to me that if it is isolated from the immediate atmosphere, it is isolated from spark ignition.

I live now on the 10th floore of a high rise. Aside from fire, gas, which I take to be closely related to fire, is in this environment the biggest immediate, real threat. This building leaks like a sieve, without ground movement.

This line of discussion makes me curious. I have a number of lights that I know would/could/might might make contact spark with sliding contacts. Rotary contacts I would not think would be any different.

What about the solid state lights like the Photos? I would not think that they are a potential ignition source.

I shall, of course, lie awake with worry over this.

#49197 - 09/18/05 03:15 PM Re: Using Streamlight flashlight in gas leak?

No, what I meant is the manufacturer will make a number of different models. I think you gave 3 models in your original post. The manufacturer has to pay a number of dollars to get the certification for a model certified to be intrinsically safe.
To save money the manufacturer may only send 1 model out of the range to be tested. In this case the other 2 models may have been built to the same standard and might be perfectly safe, but they do not have the certification to be used.
I didnt mean every single light had to be tested, only the model.

Also I am speaking from experience in Australia. Some of the standard you use in the US dont translate to our standards so things have to be retested for ours.

Another example which has nothing to do with flashlights.
One of my friends used to work for Caterpillar as a mechanic.
He bought some Caterpillar brand work boots with steel caps.
After using them for a while he found out that Caterpillar didnt submit their boot to the Australian standards testing. So with our Occupational Health Safety & Welfare laws, he was only able to wear boots that had passed the tests. He knew that the boots were as good as the boots he replaced them with, but he had no choice.
I think Caterpillar have now passed the tests, but 4 years ago they hadn't.

Also in response to "I just need to remember to remind my wife not to instinctively flip on the light switch on the way out of the dark room! "
I have friends who would think its cheaper than a divorce <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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