The likelihood of a fire breaking out in your home or workplace may seem small but isn’t. Global warming has increased the possibility of fires, so we need to learn about fire safety more than ever, that’s why this article discusses details about this useful, yet dangerous element, and introduces a few helpful tips.
Five Classes of Fire
Are you aware that some experts separate fires into five classes?
- Class A: These fires break out when organic combustibles such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber, plastics, and trash ignite.
- Class B: Class B fires break out when a person accidentally ignites flammable liquids like gasoline, kerosene, grease, oil, and other solvents. They often occur at manufacturing plants and warehouses.
- Class C: Class C fires break out when live electrical wires combust. They occur when electrical appliances overheat. Firefighters need a non-conductive extinguishing agent to put them out.
- Class D: The fourth fire category may surprise you; it may not occur to you that metals can combust. Yes, materials like magnesium, aluminum, titanium, sodium, and potassium do catch fire.
- Class K: Firefighting experts define this as a cooking fire. It begins when liquids used in food preparation combust.
A range of flammable liquids may cause cooking fires, and these include:
- Cooking oils
- Vegetable fat
- and Animal fat
These fires spread quickly and can be highly destructive.
The Importance of Fire Safety
Fire is deadly. Statistics show that that wildfires claim the lives of at least 339000 people yearly.
To illustrate, we refer to the recent wildfires that spread near the Greek capital of Athens. They broke out near the seaside town of Kineta roughly 30 miles West. The flames devastated the holiday resort of Mati in Rafina and killed at least 88 people.
Fires damage residential and commercial properties. They cause injuries, and in many instances, take lives. If a fire breaks out in a workplace, it may mean a loss of jobs.
With adherence to fire prevention measures and training, people can respond quickly in the event of an emergency. Fire safety tips and drills can save their lives when it counts most.
When Are Fires Likely To Break Out?
Fires have apparent triggers, and many of them are avoidable. Here are a few of them.
1. Unattended cooking
First of all, pots and pans easily overheat once a person gets distracted and leaves their cooking unattended on a burning stove. Ask someone to look after your food if you need to step out of the kitchen.
Portable heaters are a fire hazard. Keep them away from anything that catches fire quickly. If you have a furnace at home, have it inspected yearly to ensure that it works well.
3. Faulty electrical equipment
An electrical appliance, such as a toaster with a frayed cord, may start a fire. An overloaded adapter plug may ignite. Check the power points in your home before you leave it.
4. Smoking in bedrooms
It’s to keep your bedroom smoke-free. A cigarette butt that’s not put out can spark a burning flame if it’s near flammable materials. Note that it doesn’t go out for a few hours.
Candles are pleasing to the eye but can cause a room to burst into flame if left unattended. Keep them away from flammable items.
6. Inquisitive Children
Kids often start fires out of curiosity. They set random objects alight to see what would happen if they did. teach children the meaning of ‘stop, drop, cover, and roll.’
7. Faulty wiring
Poor wiring is a primary cause of many fires. You’ll know that your home has misaligned wires if the lights dim when you use appliances. You’ll also find yourself disconnecting one device to use another. Furthermore, fuses will trip constantly.
Also, barbecues will cause fires if they are near trees or flammable materials. Always keep them away from heat sources.
9. Flammable Liquids
Flammable liquids like petrol, methylated spirits, and kerosene can cause fires.
10. Dust build-up
Dust in enclosed spaces can cause explosions. Install extraction fans in places where there is a lot of dust in the air.
25 Fire Safety Tips That Can Save Your Life in an Emergency Situation
The basic knowledge of fire safety may save your life both in the home and in the workplace, so keep in mind the following tips:
1. Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers
First of all, install smoke alarms in the most fire-prone parts of your home. Test them regularly to ensure their functionality. If a family member is hard of hearing, fit one that utilizes flashing lights and vibration.
Have a fire extinguisher in every level of your home. Also, never install water heaters near the walls.
2. Escape Routes
Also, create multiple escape routes and make sure that your family knows how to use them. Create as many exit points as you can.
3. Cookers, Grills, and Heaters
Keep grills, fryers, and cookers at least three feet away from shrubbery or flammable material. Make sure that heaters are at least three feet away from anything that may catch fire.
4. Maintaining appliances
Service your fireplaces, furnaces, and other electrical appliances regularly. Fit Ground Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) in the wet areas of your home, e.g., the kitchen and bathrooms.
Gasoline is another fire hazard. Pour it into a container approved for storing it. Also, remember to close the lids on flammable materials. Store newspapers and charcoal in cool, dry places, away from heat sources. Wet charcoal can ignite.
Around 40% of fires start in the bedroom. Beds and blankets comprise combustible materials, so sleeping with a cigarette in hand is probably not a wise idea. Being surrounded by alcohol increases the risk of a bedroom fire.
7. Burning Candles
When burning candles, use sturdy holders and extinguish them before leaving your home. Keep them away from upholstery.
How to teach fire safety to children
Educate your children about fire hazards, especially if they are latchkey, by giving them a few simple tips on fire safety:
8. Never play with fire
Every parent knows that they should teach their kids not to play with fire. However, preaching this rule to them isn’t enough. Explain the consequences of playing with flammable materials. Show them matches, lighters, and other ignitors and let them know what happens should they misuse these items.
9. Point out fire hazards
Instruct your child to inform an adult if they spot fire hazards. If he notices a dish rag too close to a stove flame, he should notify an adult at once. Take him around the house to identify them.
10. Fall and Crawl
Tell junior to fall on his knees and crawl if a fire breaks out at home. This option is the safest should he be in a house full of dropping items.
11. Stop, drop, roll
Tell your child not to panic if his clothes catch fire. Dropping on the floor and rolling around is the fastest way to extinguish flames.
12. Go outside
Show your child that he shouldn’t hide in the house in the event of a fire, no matter how scared he is. Stress that he shouldn’t run into the burning building under any circumstances.
13. Follow escape routes
Establish a comprehensive escape plan. Include details such as what your child should do if he smells smoke. Introduce your child to the escape points that you’ve set up in your home.
A responsible employer or employee will want to keep his colleagues safe. Here are some measures you can put in place to make your workplace fireproof.
First of all, ensure that your colleagues can access all the control panels. Never block them as you’ll need to shut them down in the event of an emergency. Don’t obstruct firefighting equipment either.
Also, practice good housekeeping. Clutter in your home may obstruct fire exits. Keep workspaces clutter-free.
16. Waste Disposal
Discard oil rags and other fire hazards. Place them in a covered metal container.
Service your appliances regularly. Doing so will prevent overheating and electrical sparks. Keep detailed service logs and charge fire extinguishers.
18. Report electrical hazards
Report faulty wiring and malfunctioning appliances immediately. Faulty equipment contributes to workplace fires. Ensure that workers have full access to emergency numbers.
19. Safe chemical use
Always store chemicals in well-ventilated areas. Make sure that your employees wear protective equipment when accessing hazardous materials.
20. Explosive materials
Follow all necessary precautions when accessing explosive materials to prevent ignition. Avoid using non-sparking tools around flammable chemicals.
21. Full building security
Another way to prevent fires is to ensure that your building is fully secure. Lock up when you leave, and alert the authorities of suspicious behavior.
22. Smoke-free areas
Separate your workspace into smoke and smoke-free areas. Ensure that workers only smoke in places designated for smoking, and extinguish smoking materials properly.
23. Fire drills
Plan twice-yearly fire drills. Assign employees to be fire drill captains and ensure that everyone knows how to follow through on proper procedures.
How to Extinguish the Different Types of Fires
Of course, dialing 911 is always the first course of action if there is a fire. That said, you can put out small fires quickly. Remember that you should put out different fires differently.
24. Electrical Fires
Electrical fires, such as those that start because of a neglected portable heater, require the attention of a Class C extinguisher or a blanket.
25. Cooking Fires
You should extinguish cooking fires with either baking soda or a Type B extinguisher. Avoid letting grease build up in pans and ovens, as it may ignite.
26. Gas Fires
Gas fires, too, require a Type B extinguisher. Open the windows to the area and ventilate it. Have the fire department check gas pipes for leaks. It may be better to let a gas fire burn out than extinguish it. Extinguishing the fire would cause gas to fill the room, increasing the potential for an explosion. Furthermore, never enter a gas-filled room with a lighted match.
27. Storage Fires
Smother such fires with a blanket so that heat cannot escape. Store newspapers and charcoal in a cool, dry place because these materials ignite when wet.
In all, fires don’t have to be a disaster. They are preventable with a few fire safety tips.
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