Services for the Aboveground Storage Tank Industry

Federal, state, and local regulatory agencies are challenging the fuel storage tank industry with increasingly stringent fire and impact exposure requirements for aboveground storage tanks.

SwRI exposes tank assemblies to a 2,000F fire for a minimum of two hours to determine their fire resistance.

After fire exposure, these tank assemblies are subjected to the impact, erosion, and cooling effects of a hose stream.

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has developed performance evaluation procedures for these tanks that address the concerns of fire marshals and regulatory authorities throughout the United States. SwRI Procedure 93-01 exposes tanks to high-intensity fires, hose stream tests, and ballistic and simulated vehicle impacts. The procedure determines if aboveground fuel storage tanks meet the requirements established by the following specifications:

  • Uniform Fire Code (UFC) Appendix Standard A-II-F-1
  • Underwriters Laboratories UL 2085
  • National Fire Protection Association NFPA 30A, or
  • Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada ULC/ORD-C142

A newly developed SwRI procedure, SwRI 95-03, evaluates the performance of a multihazard tank in withstanding multiple exposures to the simulated hazards described in SwRI Procedure 93-01.

SwRI Procedures 93-01 and 95-03 require that the tank assemblies withstand the impact of a 12,000-pound battering ram, simulating a vehicle impact at 10 mph.

Finally, using a .30 caliber rifle at a distance of 100 feet, SwRI technicians fire five rounds of ammunition at tank assemblies to determine their resistance to ballistic impacts. Assemblies are qualified if there is no penetration of the primary tank.

Certified and experienced staff members evaluate and document results of each test including:

  • High-intensity fire exposure
  • Post-fire hose stream
  • Pre- and post-fire leakage
  • Ballistic projectile resistance
  • Simulated vehicle impact
  • Environmental performance

SwRI also has a nationally recognized and accredited Listing, Labeling, and Third-Party Certification program that meets the requirement of UFC Appendix Standard A-II-F-1 and NFPA 30A.


The SwRI Department of Fire Technology is accredited by the International Accreditation Service, Inc. (IAS), which encompasses the three major model building code jurisdictions in the United States, as a qualified testing laboratory and a third-party quality assurance and inspection agency in accordance with IAS Report Nos. TL-214 and AA-665, respectively. The Department has been designated a "Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL)" by OSHA and has been accredited in all major state and local jurisdictions throughout the U.S., including the city of Los Angeles, Miami-Dade County, and the city of New York. The Department has been accepted by the U.S. Coast Guard to provide testing and follow-up programs in support of Type Approval per the IMO FTP Code. Internationally, the Department is recognized by The Standards Council of Canada, Lloyd's Register of Shipping, Det Norske Veritas (DNV), and the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS).

The SwRI Department of Fire Technology is one of the world's largest organizations devoted to fire research and testing.

This flyer was originally published in January 1997. For more information about services for the aboveground storage tank industry, contact Matthew Blais, Director, Fire Technology Department, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Division, Southwest Research Institute, P.O. Drawer 28510, San Antonio, Texas 78228-0510, Phone (210) 522-2424, Fax (210) 522-3377.

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