How to read an NFPA Fire Diamond

by | Nov 24, 2020

What is NFPA 704

NFPA 704 is also known as the “Standard System for the Identification of the Hazards of Materials for Emergency Response.” In other words, it’s the codes and standards that rule how hazardous materials need to be marked. In order to regulate this, the National Fire Protection Association created and standardized the NFPA Fire Diamond – also known as the “safety square.” This icon allows for quick and easy identification of the risks linked to various hazardous materials.

The image shown above displays an example of a Fire Diamond along with quick reference guide on how to read each section.

Reading an NFPA Fire Diamond

Here’s everything you need to know when assessing an NFPA Fire Diamond:

Yellow Definitions

The yellow section of an NFPA Fire Diamond is used to asses a material’s instability.

  • 0 = Stable
  • 1 = Unstable if heated
  • 2 = Violent chemical change
  • 3 = Shock and heat may detonate
  • 4 = May detonate

Red Definitions

The red section of an NFPA Fire Diamond is used to asses a material’s flammability.

  • 0 = Will not burn
  • 1 = Above 200°F
  • 2 = Below 200°F
  • 3 = Below 100°F
  • 4 = Below 73°F

Blue Definitions

The blue section of an NFPA Fire Diamond is used to asses a material’s health hazard.

  • 0 = Normal material
  • 1 = Slightly hazardous
  • 2 = Hazardous
  • 3 = Extreme danger
  • 4 = Deadly

White Definitions

The white section of an NFPA Fire Diamond is used to asses a material’s specific and special hazards. This section differs from the other three as it uses symbols to display specific hazard.

  • ACID = Acid
  • ALK = Alkali
  • COR = Corrosive
  • OX = Oxidizer
  •  = Radiation hazard
  • -W- = Do not use water

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