Government of Canada navigation bar

Symbol of the Government of Canada

Primary site navigation bar

Guide 138

 

Name of Material
 
 
Magnesium
 
 
GUIDE
138
SUBSTANCES - WATER-REACTIVE (Emitting Flammable Gases)
 
POTENTIAL HAZARDS

FIRE OR EXPLOSION

  • Produce flammable gases on contact with water.
  • May ignite on contact with water or moist air.
  • Some react vigorously or explosively on contact with water.
  • May be ignited by heat, sparks or flames.
  • May re-ignite after fire is extinguished.
  • Some are transported in highly flammable liquids.
  • Runoff may create fire or explosion hazard.

HEALTH

  • Inhalation or contact with vapors, substance or decomposition products may cause severe injury or death.
  • May produce corrosive solutions on contact with water.
  • Fire will produce irritating, corrosive and/or toxic gases.
  • Runoff from fire control may cause pollution.
PUBLIC SAFETY
  • CALL Emergency Response Telephone Number on Shipping Paper first. If Shipping Paper not available or no answer, refer to appropriate telephone number listed on the inside back cover.
  • As an immediate precautionary measure, isolate spill or leak area in all directions for at least 50 meters (150 feet) for liquids and at least 25 meters (75 feet) for solids.
  • Keep unauthorized personnel away.
  • Stay upwind.
  • Keep out of low areas.
  • Ventilate the area before entry.

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING

  • Wear positive pressure self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).
  • Wear chemical protective clothing that is specifically recommended by the manufacturer. It may provide little or no thermal protection.
  • Structural firefighters' protective clothing provides limited protection in fire situations ONLY; it is not effective in spill situations where direct contact with the substance is possible.

EVACUATION

Spill

  • See Table 1 - Initial Isolation and Protective Action Distances for highlighted materials. For non-highlighted materials, increase, in the downwind direction, as necessary, the isolation distance shown under "PUBLIC SAFETY".

Fire

  • If tank, rail car or tank truck is involved in a fire, ISOLATE for 800 meters (1/2 mile) in all directions; also, consider initial evacuation for 800 meters (1/2 mile) in all directions.
EMERGENCY RESPONSE

FIRE

  • DO NOT USE WATER OR FOAM.

Small Fire

  • Dry chemical, soda ash, lime or sand.

Large Fire

  • DRY sand, dry chemical, soda ash or lime or withdraw from area and let fire burn.
  • Move containers from fire area if you can do it without risk.

Fire Involving Metals or Powders (Aluminum, Lithium, Magnesium, etc.)

  • Use dry chemical, DRY sand, sodium chloride powder, graphite powder or Met-L-X® powder; in addition, for Lithium you may use Lith-X® powder or copper powder. Also, see GUIDE 170.

Fire involving Tanks or Car/Trailer Loads

  • Fight fire from maximum distance or use unmanned hose holders or monitor nozzles.
  • Do not get water inside containers.
  • Cool containers with flooding quantities of water until well after fire is out.
  • Withdraw immediately in case of rising sound from venting safety devices or discoloration of tank.
  • ALWAYS stay away from tanks engulfed in fire.

SPILL OR LEAK

  • ELIMINATE all ignition sources (no smoking, flares, sparks or flames in immediate area).
  • Do not touch or walk through spilled material.
  • Stop leak if you can do it without risk.
  • Use water spray to reduce vapors or divert vapor cloud drift. Avoid allowing water runoff to contact spilled material.
  • DO NOT GET WATER on spilled substance or inside containers.

Small Spill

  • Cover with DRY earth, DRY sand or other non-combustible material followed with plastic sheet to minimize spreading or contact with rain.
  • Dike for later disposal; do not apply water unless directed to do so.

Powder Spill

  • Cover powder spill with plastic sheet or tarp to minimize spreading and keep powder dry.
  • DO NOT CLEAN-UP OR DISPOSE OF, EXCEPT UNDER SUPERVISION OF A SPECIALIST.

FIRST AID

  • Move victim to fresh air.
  • Call 911 or emergency medical service.
  • Give artificial respiration if victim is not breathing.
  • Administer oxygen if breathing is difficult.
  • Remove and isolate contaminated clothing and shoes.
  • In case of contact with substance, wipe from skin immediately; flush skin or eyes with running water for at least 20 minutes.
  • Keep victim warm and quiet.
  • Ensure that medical personnel are aware of the material(s) involved and take precautions to protect themselves.
 
 
 
 
Date Modified:
2012-08-08