ABCs of Fire Safety
Fire Safety guarantees fire prevention, more effective response to fire, and therefore, a possibility of saving lives and property. And in many cases, timely care about the fire safety of the building allows to prevent fire occurrence at all. The main characteristics of fire safety at the facility are presence of warning systems and necessary organizational and technical measures.
In fact, in any building there are things or interior parts that can catch fire. However, not all areas are equally dangerous from the point of view of a possibility of fire occurrence and spread. The degree of risk depends on the purpose of the building, the number of people inside, and the facility location. There are many classifications of fire facilities. For example, manufacturing facilities in terms of fire risk are divided into 5 categories. A and B categories are assigned to explosive production and manufacturing, in which flammable substances are used. Categories B, D and E are all the other rooms. Moreover, their technology might also include the use of combustible materials, but the risk of fire and / or explosion is much lower than that of the first two categories.
Therefore, fire safety requirements for premises of different types are also different, but there are general rules:
- In facilities of different types it is necessary to eliminate any type of contact of a potential source of ignition with all combustible materials.
- If you cannot perform the first paragraph it is necessary to equip the source of potential danger with automatic means of protection (emergency shutdown, alarm, etc.).
Performing of these basic requirements helps maintain the required level of security. Fire safety rules govern the behavior of people, premises management and organization of production.
Methods of fire resistance can be divided into preventive and actually firefighting.
The required actions on reducing fire risk include:
- Insulation of electrical wiring and outlets located in humid areas (bathrooms, external walls);
- Installation of circuit breakers and circuit breakers;
- Isolation of generating heat (gas and electric stoves, heaters, etc.) from inflammable objects (wooden furniture, curtains, etc.);
- Equipment of special places for smoking;
- Compliance with rules of using an open fire in a room (only use candles in candlesticks, close the grate, etc.).
One of the main problems in case of fire is a rapid spread of fire into adjacent rooms. How to reduce this risk to a minimum? It is necessary to think about it at the early stage of construction and decoration of the building. For example, installation of fire walls, doors and windows in premises significantly impede the spread of fire. The same can be said about the use of non-combustible materials in the construction of elements important for the building’s fire safety (roofing, finishing, and coating). Naturally, warning and alarm systems help stop the flames in time.
As for firefighting, in case of fire the first thing to do is call the fire department and bring people out of the building. If getting through the emergency exit is not possible, people are evacuated by winches and fire escapes. To prevent the destruction of valuables and documents by fire it is useful to store them in fireproof safes.
Obviously, it makes more sense to take measures in advance to prevent fire than with risks to human life and an inevitable damage to the building while extinguishing the fire.
What a fire is
For the most effective prevention and firefighting, it is important to know basic information about the occurrence.
At its core, a fire is a thermal decomposition of combustible materials. As a result, there form large amounts of heat, as well as carbon monoxide and dioxide, and soot.
All fires can be divided into 3 types:
- Industrial (fires are plants, factories, warehouses)
- Household (fires in domestic houses and institutions)
- Natural (forest and peat fires)
Conditions for fire are combustible environment, open source of ignition (open flames, chemical reaction, and electrical current) and the impact of the oxidant (usually oxygen).
There are many causes of fire: it is a careless use of fire, a violation of basic rules of using household electricity, heating and appliances as well as arsons, lightning, and spontaneous ignition of combustible materials.
Ignition time is the amount of time that passes between the fire onset until the actual fire. This period may last for a few minutes (in hazardous areas), and a few months (on peat bogs).
From the beginning, the fire goes through several stages:
- The first 20 minutes. Linear spread of fire along the combustible material. The room is filled with smoke. Temperature rises to 300 C.
- Flame spreads across the floor area (duration about 10 minutes.).
- Destruction of the glass, resulting in a sharp influx of oxygen and an increase in temperature up to 900 C. Maximum speed of fire (duration 10 min.).
- Stabilization of the fire. Moving fire to adjacent rooms and the street. This stage can last from 20 minutes to several hours.