BU-704d: NFPA 704 Rating

NFPA 704 rating is a standard developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in the USA to indicate health, flammability, reactivity and hazard of materials. First adopted in 1960, NFPA 704 represents a diamond with colored safety square and embedded number from 0 to 4. Zero signifies no hazard and 4 presents maximum risk. Depending on the number in the squares, emergency personnel use the appropriate equipment, follow special procedures, and take the needed precautions during an emergency response.

Figure 1 illustrates four color-coded fields with red on top indicating flammability, blue on the left indicating level of health hazard, yellow on the right for chemical reactivity, and white containing codes for special hazards.

Figure 1: NFPA 704 Rating
First adopted in 1960, NFPA 704 represents a diamond with safety square used by emergency personnel to identify the risks posed by hazardous materials.

Note:  NFPA 704 should not be confused with other classification systems such as NFPA 30 for flammable and combustible liquids.

Figure 2 shows the NFPA 704 rating of a lithium ion batteries marked 010. Other battery chemistries may have 000 or different designations.

NFPA 705 Li-ion Figure 2: NFPA 704 fire diamond for Li-ion batteries



Red 0 Material does no burn under normal conditions
Red 1 Material needs considerable preheating before ignition or combustion occurs
Red 2 Material needs moderate heat before ignition or combustion occurs
Red 3 Liquids and solids can be ignited under ambient temperature
Red 4 Vaporizes under atmospheric pressure; burns easily



Blue 0 Poses no health hazard
Blue 1 Exposure causes irritation
Blue 2 Intense and continued use cause injury
Blue 3 Short exposure causes injury
Blue 4 Short exposure causes major injury or death



Yellow 0 Stable
Yellow 1 Becomes unstable at elevated temperature
Yellow 2 Violent changes at high temperature, reacts with water
Yellow 3 Can detonate with trigger
Yellow 4 Can detonate at normal temperature


Special Hazard

OX Oxidizer, chemical burns without air
W Reacts with water in an unusual or dangerous manner
SA Nitrogen, helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon and other asphyxiant gases



Last Updated 2018-08-08

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