Fire is the most common Hazard around us and can cause extensive damage to life and property in a matter of minutes. Every year numerous lives are lost to fire related incidents.
How does a fire start?
For a fire to start it require three elements-
1) Oxygen: oxygen is present in air which is available in abundance all around us.
2) Fuel: anything that has the potential to burn is fuel. Most of the things around us usually have a potential to burn. The clothes we wear, table, chair, drapes, even our body is a fuel. Some of the material tends to burn easily than others, such as petrol, paper etc, while material like cloth, wood, our body take time to burn.
3) Heat:Heat is an essential element to start a fire, heat can be a spark from a match stick, sparks caused due to short circuit or sparks caused due to friction and as soon as it come in contact with Fuel and Oxygen it tend to start a fire.
These elements can be explained with the help of a Fire Triangle.
A fire cannot start or sustain if any of the above 3 elements are missing. Firemen while fighting fires try and remove one of the elements.
1) Fire can spread quickly and has the potential to engulf entire structures.
2) In many cases of fire it is found that people die due to inhalation of smoke rather than burns.
3) Fire causes rapid increase in temperature and can cause serious burns and inhaling superheated air can cause burns in the wind pipe which can also cause death.
The video is an experiment depicting how fast a fire can spread. We may extinguish the fire in the initial 20 seconds but after 20 seconds the fire has started to spread and it is difficult to contain.
The area is getting filled with smoke. We must remember that in case of fire we should always drop low and should move towards the exit immediately while covering our nose and mouth to prevent breathing in hot poisonous gases.
Within a minute the fire has spread across the room burning everything.
· On detection of fire call fire brigade immediately.
· Turn the gas valve off when not using gas for cooking.
· Ensure your house is fire proof by installing smoke alarms and fire extinguishers and test them on regular intervals.
· Discuss the evacuation plan with your family at home and with your workspace colleagues to be better prepared for the fire situation.
· Teach children about fire safety and not to play with matchsticks, lighters and fire crackers.
· At your business establishment conduct mock drill in presence of a supervisor on regular interval for timely evacuation to reduce fatalities.
·Insure your home and belongings to minimise the fire risk.
· Keep all the exit and entry points free from any obstruction for safe and free evacuation.
· Place emergency phone numbers on phone and fridge where it is accessible to everyone and can be used in case of distress. (Police-100, Fire Brigade-101, Ambulance-102, Disaster Helpline 1077)
· Ensure the pressure in fire extinguisher is proper and they are serviced on regular intervals.
· In case of a fire keep low and close to the ground.
· In case your cloths are on fire remember STOP, DROP and ROLL till the fire is out.
· In case of an injury or breathlessness visit the nearest hospital for first aid or call an ambulance on 102.
· Apply cold water on a burn and see a doctor immediately. Don’t apply toothpaste or butter over a burn.
· Use only ISI marked electrical switches and wiring for safety of the people and install circuit breakers.
· Don’t silence a fire alarm until advised to and call fire brigade on 101.
· Don’t use lift in case of fire as electric supply is cut which will cause the lift to stop.
· Don’t hide in case of a fire, move outside in open for safety.
· Don’t use water on fire caused by fuel or cooking oil.
· Do not enter a burning building or house for your belongings.
· Close doors in case of fire to stop fire from spreading. DO NOT LOCK THE DOOR.
· In case of fire before opening a door check whether it is hot or not. If it’s hot do not open and find a different exit.
There are various types of fire extinguishers in the market. All of them are categorized on the basis of the fires they are able to extinguish.
ALWAYS REMEMBER, NOT ALL TYPES OF FIRE EXTINGUISHERS CAN BE USED TO DOUSE A FIRE.
Always check what is burning and accordingly use the appropriate fire extinguisher.
To operate a fire extinguisher we need to follow the P.A.S.S system.
P: Pull the pin on the trigger
A: Aim the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire.
S: Squeeze the trigger to release the material
S: Swipe from side to side to cover the entire burning surface evenly to extinguish the fire.
Most of the fire extinguishers have a Pressure Gauge which tells us the condition of fire extinguisher. If the needle in the gauge is at green it means the extinguisher can be used to douse a fire, if it is in red it need to be refilled or replace immediately.