Cordon control: Combustible dust

Control Measure Knowledge

This control measure should be read in conjunction with Cordon controls: Hazardous materials


Combustible dusts may be present in a range of premises including industrial processing plants, food processing plants and storage vessels such as silos. In bulk solid form, these may present minimal risk to fire service operations. However, when disturbed, mixtures could form within a flammable range. It is important for incident commanders to identify potential risk as part of the information gathering process.

Any materials that can burn and that exist in a fine-powdered form may, under certain circumstances, present a risk of explosion. Example materials include:

  • Sugar
  • Flour or custard powder
  • Instant coffee or dried milk
  • Grain
  • Coal
  • Wood
  • Certain metals
  • Synthetic organic chemicals

There is no established recommended cordon distance for dust explosions. Advice should be sought from a hazardous materials advisers (HMA) or on-site specialist.

See National Operational Guidance: Hazardous materials.

Refer to the responsibilities of fire and rescue services.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions