Risks Associated with the Use of Naphta as a Fire-starter


Risks Associated with the Use of Naphta as a Fire-starter

Case number


The use of naphta as a fire-starter for barbecues was the cause of an accident in Afghanistan that required the evacuation of a Canadian Forces (CF) member and his repatriation to Canada. This case demonstrated that because of its characteristics, naphta  should not be used for this purpose.  The facts in this case also revealed that many other CF members are using naphta to light fires or maybe for other unforeseen purposes. Unfortunately, despite this misuse of naphta and the lack of an appropriate fire-starter, no preventive measures have been proposed and no ban promulgated since that time.

In the Board's view, the probability that other accidents occur, some of which may be of a more serious nature than the grievor's accident, is very high.


The Board recommended that the Chief of the Defence Staff bring this problem to the attention of the Commander Canadian Expeditionary Force Command to arrange for the provision of an appropriate fire-starter in all operational theatres, to ban the use of naphta for purposes other than those stipulated by the CF and to publish and communicate this ban to members of the CF

Final Authority Decision

The CDS did not subscribe to the Board's systemic recommendation to order that proper fire-starters be provided in theatres of operation and that the use of naphta, for other purposes than those specified by the CF, be prohibited.  The CDS was of the opinion that the CF have a keen safety culture and can rely on a cadre of safety professionals who ensure the maintenance of high standards, in addition to General Safety Officers occupying operational positions overseas.  The CDS concluded that this was an isolated incident.

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