Out of all of the many hazards that you might face in your life, a dangerous fire is one of the most personally destructive and also one of the most likely.
What’s worse, all of the many supplies and preps that we have laid in might actually contribute to fire hazards. Because of this, you’ve got to know which things pose a significant fire hazard and which don’t.
That way, you’ll be better equipped to prevent a fire from starting in the first place, or preventing a small fire from turning into a major conflagration.
Let’s look at salt, for instance. Yes, common table salt. Is salt flammable?
No, salt is not flammable under any conditions which you could conceivably encounter. Salt has an extremely high melting point of over 1,400 °F (760 °C), and a flashpoint significantly higher than that.
Salt simply isn’t a fire hazard in any way. Compared to lots of other things you might store, like liquid fuel and even bulk grains or flour, salt is essentially inert.
But there’s more you’ll want to know, so keep reading and I’ll tell you all about it…
Is Salt Combustible?
No, salt is not combustible by any practical standard known or used.
Does Salt Ignite at Any Temperature?
No, not practically, although it can ignite in incredible high temps. Salt, specifically table salt or sodium chloride as it’s scientifically known, is a stable compound and can withstand very high temperatures.
The temperature required to ignite salt is extremely high: salt won’t even start to melt until it reaches a temperature of 1474 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is a temperature far beyond what most household appliances or typical fire sources can produce! Accordingly, in practical terms, it’s almost impossible for salt to ignite under normal circumstances.
Does Salt React with High Temperature?
No. Salt is a robust compound that demonstrates minimal reactivity, even when exposed to high temperatures.
It remains stable and does not react until it reaches exceedingly high temperatures as described above, and more specifically well over a thousand degrees Fahrenheit.
And despite exposure to sustained elevated temperatures, salt maintains its stability and doesn’t ignite or change its form.
This makes it practically non-flammable, and extremely safe to store in any quantities. It also means salt is also highly reliable and predictable when cooking, thankfully!
Is Rock Salt Flammable?
Rock salt, much like table salt, is not flammable. Technically, under the same extremely specific and rare conditions, it could ignite, but these conditions are so extreme that they’re basically impossible to encounter in everyday life, even in extreme situations.
Rock salt’s non-flammability is one of the reasons it’s used in various applications, like road de-icing. Even when exposed to a direct flame, rock salt will not catch fire.
Is Iodized Salt Flammable?
Iodized salt, which is regular table salt fortified with the essential mineral iodine, is likewise not flammable.
Regardless of the additional iodine, the base compound remains sodium chloride, which, as discussed earlier, does not ignite unless subjected to incredibly high temperatures, well beyond the capabilities of most heat sources.
The non-flammable nature of iodized salt makes it just as safe to use in cooking and other applications as non-iodized varieties.
Will Salt Make a Fire Worse?
No! Contrary to some common misconceptions, salt does not exacerbate fires. Whether a fire comes into contact with a small amount of salt or a large barrel of it, the intensity and duration of the fire will not increase.
The reason for this is simple: salt (sodium chloride), in all its many forms, is just not a practically flammable substance. Heck, let’s say you just decide to arbitrarily sprinkle some salt into a fire. What would it do?
Almost nothing: the most noticeable effect would be a distinct yellow tint to the resulting flames. No roaring whoosh, no combustion, not sparks, no molten globs of slat, nothing.
This color change is only due to a slight reaction between the heat and the sodium chloride, which results in a characteristic color. Do note, however, that this does not intensify the fire; it merely alters its appearance momentarily.
Is Salt Reactive with Other Substances?
Indeed, salt can react with other substances, but these reactions areas a rule not hazardous. Sodium chloride, the chemical name for common salt, can dissolve in water, leading to the well-known saline solution.
It can also react with some strong acids produce harmful gas. Nonetheless, nearly any household reaction is safe and does not produce dangerous products or increase fire hazards under normal conditions.
While chemical salts’ reactivity (or lack thereof) and other properties is one of the reasons they are used in a variety of applications, table salt is so predictable and mild-mannered, it is used in everything from culinary uses to scientific experiments without posing any significant risks.
Sodium and Chlorine are Dangerous at High Temps, But Not Table Salt
While it’s true that sodium and chlorine, individually in their elemental forms, are highly reactive and can be dangerous under many conditions, especially high temperatures, table salt, which is a compound of these two elements, behaves quite differently.
But why?! It doesn’t make sense to the uninitiated…
The reason lies in the chemical bonding that occurs during the formation of sodium chloride. When sodium and chlorine combine, they form an ionic bond, creating a stable compound.
This compound, table salt, does not exhibit the same reactivity or potential dangers as its “parent” elements.
Even under high temperatures, nay extreme temps, table salt remains stable due to the strong ionic bond. Take it to the bank: table salt is completely safe in any sort of fire risk context.
How Should You Deal with Salt Exposed to Fire?
In the event of a fire, the presence of salt should not alter your response to it whatsoever. Whether a fire comes into contact with a small amount or a large quantity of salt, it won’t affect the fire’s behavior or intensity.
Thus, the best course of action is to focus on extinguishing the fire using the appropriate method for the type of fire you’re dealing with. Use a fire extinguisher or other suitable means to combat the flames.
Remember, salt is essentially non-flammable, so it will not contribute to the fire’s intensity or duration and poses no reactivity risk to you or bystanders- or to first responders! Its presence shouldn’t change the way you approach the situation…
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.