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How Fires Are More Versatile and Diverse Than You Thought

Generally, all fires have flames and produce smoke but the similarities largely end there. They can be caused in a variety of ways, different materials can catch alight, and there are a few different health hazards caused by fires. It’s extremely important to understand the diverse nature of fires so that you can handle the hazard to your best ability.

The 6 Main Principles of Heat Transfer

Contact: This is where flames come into contact with another substance or a material that’s flammable which causes the hazard to travel. Wildfires are a good example of this.

Convection: As you’ll probably have experienced when cooking, heat can transfer through the air and if this gets too intense for nearby substances and materials, they may also set alight.

Conduction: Even if a material isn’t directly flammable, like aluminium, it can still transfer heat which can, in turn, set other things alight.

Radiation: Similar to convection, heat can also transfer via electromagnetic waves which can encourage nearby objects to catch alight. For example, you can use a magnifying glass to light kindling or paper on a hot day.

Backdraught: This is where a fire has consumed a lot of oxygen in a room or building and then a door is opened, allowing fresh oxygen to enter and then reinvigorate the fire.

Flashover: Flashover is where many objects in a given space heat up quickly and then burst into flames all at once and this is how fires spread so quickly in compact buildings.

The 6 Classes of Fire

Based on the substance or the material catching fire, different fires are given classifications. This is useful for those using fire extinguishers as they can quickly identify the most appropriate way to extinguish the hazard.

  • Class A: Solids like wood
  • Class B: Liquids like petrol
  • Class C: Gasses like propane
  • Class D: Metals like magnesium
  • Class E: Electrical equipment
  • Class F: Cooking oils or fat

3 Health Hazards Caused by Fires

Heat: Although an obvious point, heat causes a huge amount of suffering each year. Flames will burn your skin, eyes, and lungs, which is extremely painful.

Smoke: When the smoke produced by fires is inhaled, it damages the lungs and suffocates the victim. In fact, most fire victims die from the smoke produced by fire rather than the actual fire itself.

A lack of oxygen: Oxygen is used up quickly by fires, leaving less to be breathed, which then encourages the inhalation of smoke, having the above consequences.

Fires are dangerous in many different ways. Not only can a huge variety of substances and materials catch alight but they can catch alight via different processes. Plus, there are a few interlinked health issues caused by them. It’s important to understand this diversity so you have the best chance of handling any potential future hazards.

To ensure that you’re prepared for all fire-related hazards, visit E K Fire Protection to find out about our fire extinguisher services, fire risk assessments, and safety signs & emergency light installations. Contact us by calling 01304 210909 to speak to a specialist today!

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