Fire is one of the most common disasters. Fire causes more deaths than any other type of disaster. But fire doesn’t have to be deadly if you have early warning from a smoke detector and everyone in your family knows how to escape calmly.
How A Fire Starts
Fire is a chemical reaction involving rapid oxidation or burning of a fuel. It needs three elements to occur:
- Fuel - Fuel can be any combustible material: solid, liquid or gas. Most solids and liquids become a vapor or gas before they will burn.
- Heat - Heat is the energy necessary to increase the temperature of the fuel to a point where sufficient vapors are given off for ignition to occur.
- Oxygen - The air we breathe is about 21 percent oxygen. Fire only needs an atmosphere with at least 16 percent oxygen.
A chain reaction can occur when the three elements of fire are present in the proper conditions and proportions. Fire occurs when this rapid oxidation or burning takes place. Take any one of these factors away, and the fire cannot occur or will be extinguished if it was already burning.
When Not to Fight a Fire
Never fight a fire in any of these situations:
- If the fire is spreading beyond the spot where it started
- If you can’t fight the fire with your back to an escape exit
- If the fire can block your only escape
- If you don’t have adequate fire-fighting equipment