I am a first responder and one of our protocols when entering any unknown lab environment is to turn off any burners. Most of the time, we try to not disturb the environment as much as possible so a colleague of mine and myself were curious as to any substance that would actually be more dangerous after turning off said burner. Thank you.

  • $\begingroup$ Substance? No. Device? With some far-fetched assumptions, maybe yes. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ Can you please explain what exactly a "first responder" is? $\endgroup$
    – Karl
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 18:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Karl In case of a medical emergency, a first responder is a designated trained person providing first help prior to the arrival of an ambulance. Typically, these have more repeated training "under the belt" than "just" the red cross course you pass when applying for a driver's licence. (In some schools / universities, you are not allowed to enter the chemistry lab until at least one first responder is in proximity.) $\endgroup$
    – Buttonwood
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Buttonwood In Germany, we have "Ersthelfer", employees with a professional or academic degree, and a one week first aid course (+ regular refresher courses). Every "workplace" building must have a certain number of them registered per floor, depending, and their names and office numbers are printed on the evacuation plans you find on every corridor. But: Those people know what is going on where they might be called for help, and in a chemistry building, they are generally chemists. This seems not the case with our OP, if I understand correctly. $\endgroup$
    – Karl
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 22:22

1 Answer 1


Well, in theory, a few compounds could become explosive when crystallizing out of a solution (which is promoted by low temperatures) though I do not think that "turning off burners" would be enough. The "best" candidate I can imagine would be "azidoazide azide" which can detonate for... just any reason! But nobody uses it, just because of that.

  • $\begingroup$ It seems as azidoazide azide is pretty unstable with most things. I do like where you are going with something crystallizing as time passes. Sometimes we are at a scene for days. I guess the question would be, is there something that is air reactive in a crystalline state that would be stable as a solution. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 14:39
  • $\begingroup$ Another mechanism would be the solvent evaporating over days. So the solution of the compound is stable, but the dry compound is not. $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 17:18

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