HOW FIRES START…
• Fire is a chemical reaction involving rapid oxidation or burning of
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.
-Oxygen: The air we breathe is about 21 percent oxygen.
Fire only needs an atmosphere with at least 16% percent
-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.
Chemistry of Fire
In order for fire to occur four things must be present,
Oxygen, Fuel, Heat, and a Chemical Chain Reaction. This
is represented by the Fire Tetrahedron.
When any of the four items are removed, the fire will go
Fire extinguishers function by removing one of the four
components of the Fire Tetrahedron.
•The following is a brief description of each element and their interaction:
•Fuel - May be any combustible material. Can be a solid, liquid, or gas. Typically solids and liquids
must be heated to the point where they are converted into a vapor or gas before they will burn.
•Oxygen - There must be at least 16% oxygen present for a fire to burn. This is usually not a
problem since the air we breath is about 21% oxygen.
•Heat - Heat is the energy needed to increase the fuel’s temperature to the point where
sufficient vapors are produced for ignition to occur.
•Chemical Reaction - The chemical chain reaction know as fire occurs when fuel, oxygen and heat
are present in the right conditions and amounts.
THE FOUR STAGES OF COMBUSTION
Explosions excepted, most fires have quite humble
beginnings and grow through four stages:
Incipient Stage - At this stage, decomposition is occurring at the surface of the fuel due
to the influence of some form of heat. Products of combustion given off at this stage
are invisible to the eye.
Smoldering Stage - At this stage, up to 10% of the decomposing products released at
the surface of the fuel are visible.
Flaming Stage - Vapors from the decomposing fuel have ignited and are at the stage
where flames are self propagating.
Heat Stage - At this stage the burning has progressed to the point where the fire is still
small but generating sufficient heat to warm the air immediately around the fire,
sending warm products of combustion upwards by convection.
THE FOUR STAGES OF COMBUSTION
▪ The time required for a fire to develop through the first two
stages is usually quite long when compared to the last two.
▪ Depending on conditions, the time involved going through all
stages may be anything from seconds to days.
THE CHEMISTRY OF FIRE EXTINCTION
The principles consist of the elimination of one or more of the four elements.
These principles are:
▪ The most commonly used fire fighting medium is water. Water absorbs heat from the fire and
cools the fuel to a temperature where it no longer produces flammable vapors.
▪ By excluding the oxygen in the surrounding atmosphere, the fire will be extinguished.
THE CHEMISTRY OF FIRE EXTINCTION
▪ Starvation is achieved by removal of the fuel burning in the fire. Sometimes
combustible material can be removed such as by shutting off gas valves or fuel flows.
STOP CHAIN REACTION
▪ Stop or interrupt the chain reaction between the fuel, heat and oxygen the fire will be
▪ Specific methods of extinguishing fires often involve a combination of more
than one of the four principles
HOW FIRES ARE CLASSIFIED
Ordinary combustibles or fibrous material such as
Wood, paper, cloth, rubber and some plastics.
Flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline,
kerosene, paint, paint thinner and propane.
Energized electrical equipment, such as appliances,
Switches, panel boxes and power tools.
Certain combustible metals, such as magnesium, Titanium, potassium
and sodium. These metals burn at high temperatures and give off
sufficient oxygen to support combustion. They may react violently
with water or other chemicals, and must be handled with care.
▪ Elements of Fire Prevention Planning
▪ Identifying fire hazards
▪ Prevention Strategy
▪ Related Training
Elements of Fire Prevention Planning
▪ List all major fire hazards.
▪ Proper control of hazardous materials
▪ including flammable and combustible liquids.
▪ Control potential ignition sources.
▪ List fire protection equipment.
▪ Regular inspection and maintenance.
▪ Responsible employees for fuel sources.
Identify the Hazards
▪ Scrap, waste materials, dust, trash
▪ When these items are allowed to accumulate, the risk of fire is increased.
▪ Under the right conditions, the buildup of dust from wood, plastic, or certain metal
operations can lead to a fire or explosion.
Identify the Hazards – Combustible Materials
▪ Ordinary combustible materials, like paper, cardboard, wood, and products
made from these materials can present a fire hazard when they are allowed to
accumulate or are stored improperly.
▪ Foam or plastic cups, utensils, materials close to heat sources burn rapidly and
give off dense, toxic, black smoke.
▪ Oily rags or other materials soaked in oil can spontaneously combust if placed
in areas where the air does not circulate.
How does a solid burn?
Takes place as wood, coal, conveyor
belts or any carbon based products
decomposes from the action of the heat
Remember, it is the vapors that burn,
not the solid.
Identify the Hazards – Flammable materials
▪ Flammable materials
▪ The unsafe use, storage, dispensing, or disposal of flammable materials can be
a prime source of fires and explosions.
▪ Read labels of all spray cans to identify those with flammable gas-propellants.
▪ Butane and propane are the most common and should never be exposed to heat or
Diesel fuel precautions :
Flammable or combustible liquid spillage or leakage shall be removed in a timely manner or
controlled to prevent a fire hazard.
All diesel-powered machines are required to have at least one 10A:60B:C portable fire extinguisher
Two portable fire extinguishers must be installed when a 5 gallon diesel fuel safety can is carried
on the vehicle
Identify the Hazards - Electrical issues
▪ Electrical issues
▪ Extension cords and multiple plug adapters may only be used for temporary operations.
▪ Overloaded circuits, damaged wiring, and defective switches and outlets can all lead to
▪ Placing space heaters near, or in contact with, combustible materials poses a fire hazard.
▪ Small portable fans can pose a fire hazard if they are placed near combustible materials, or
where the blades of the fan can easily catch items.
▪ Damaged wiring on portable fans, and mounting portable fans in walls also increase your fire
Identify the Hazards – Hot Work
▪ Any operation involving heated materials or open flames can
present a fire hazard.
▪ Hot work procedures have been developed and are part of
▪ Machines that are not lubricated properly can overheat and
start a fire.
▪ Electrical problems and equipment defects can lead to a fire.
Identify the Hazards
▪ Careless Smoking
▪ Smoking is prohibited in facilities owned or leased by the university.
▪ Some exceptions are made for certain residential facilities.
▪ Outdoors, discarded smoking materials carelessly tossed in waste
containers or into landscaping can easily start a fire.
Prevention Strategy – House Keeping - 1
▪ The accumulation of combustible materials (such as cardboard
boxes, magazines, and paper products) is prohibited.
▪ Combustible material must not be stored any closer than 36” from
a heating appliance or electrical light.
▪ Properly dispose of items no longer in use.
▪ Store materials at least 24” from the ceiling
▪ Portable fire extinguishers cannot be obstructed, and must be
clearly visible with notification signs displayed.
Prevention Strategy – House Keeping - 2
▪ Keep passageways clear of obstacles, including furniture and other equipment.
▪ Maintain premises free of unneeded and unnecessary combustible materials.
Prevention Strategy – Fire rated doors
▪ Fire-rated doors must not be blocked open with wedges,
stoppers, or anything else!
▪ These doors are to remain closed to reduce fire and smoke
spread through the rest of the building.
Prevention Strategy – Electrical - 1
▪ Inspect all wiring, switches and plugs for damage.
▪ Repair must be performed by an “Electrical Qualified Person”.
▪ Contact Physical Plant if necessary.
▪ All outlets, junction boxes, and electrical panels must have
▪ Junction boxes and breaker/disconnects in electrical circuit
panels are required to be properly labeled.
▪ Use of unapproved electric cords or equipment in wet or damp
locations may result in a short circuit.
▪ Do not connect/disconnect electrical cords with wet hands.
Prevention Strategy - 2
▪ Do not overload motors or circuits, which can
easily become a source of ignition.
▪ Report any problems with lighting fixtures or
heating elements to Physical Plant immediately.
Prevention Strategy – Electrical - 3
▪ Improper use of extension cords is prohibited.
▪ Always plug extension cords and power strips directly into building
wiring – no “daisy chaining”.
▪ Use heavy-duty, grounded, single appliance extension cords only.
Light/medium duty “zip” cords are prohibited.
▪ Do not use extension cords in place of permanent building wiring.
▪ Do not use extension cords for an extended period of time (90 days is
a good rule of thumb).
▪ Have additional outlets installed if necessary.
▪ Use a power strip with breaker protection in lieu of extension cords.
Prevention Strategy – Electrical - 4
▪ Multiple plug adapters are prohibited.
▪ Have additional wall outlets installed.
▪ Use power strips with breaker protection instead.
Prevention Strategy – Electrical - 5
▪ Non-Standard Plug vs. Socket design can create loose-contacts, and fire.
Prevention Strategy – Flammable & Combustible Materials - 1
▪ Where possible, substitute flammable
materials with safer, less/non flammable,
▪ Store flammable liquids properly.
▪ At least one fire extinguisher in the area.
▪ Large storage areas should have a fire
protection system installed.
▪ Use flammable liquid storage cabinets where
greater quantities of liquids are needed.
▪ Contrary to popular belief, these cabinets are
not designed to contain a fire, but to prevent
an outside fire from reaching the contents for
a period of 10 minutes.
Prevention Strategy – Flammable & Combustible Materials - 2
▪ Containers should be tightly sealed when not in use.
▪ Liquids should be stored in an area where temperature is stable to avoid pressure
buildup from vaporization.
▪ Approved safety cans are recommended for smaller quantities.
▪ The spring-loaded safety cap prevents spillage, prevents vapors from escaping, acts as a pressure
vent if engulfed in fire, and prevents explosion and rocketing of the can.
Prevention Strategy – Flammable & Combustible Materials - 3
▪ Quantities of liquids stored outside should be restricted to one day’s
▪ Some flammable liquids, such as benzene and gasoline have a
tendency to accumulate a static electric charge, which can release a
spark that ignites the liquid.
▪ Always bond metal dispensing and receiving containers together before
▪ To bond containers, each container is wired together and one
container is connected to a good ground point to allow any charge to
drain away safely.
▪ Because there is no easy way to bond plastic containers, their use
should be limited to smaller sizes (no more than 4L).
Prevention Strategy – Flammable & Combustible Materials - 4
▪ To prevent the accumulation of vapors inside of storage areas, a continuous mechanical
ventilation system must be in place.
▪ Both makeup and exhaust air openings must be arranged to provide air movement directly to
the exterior of the building.
▪ Exhaust ventilation ducts must be exclusive to the system and used for no other purposes.
▪ All nonessential ignition sources must be eliminated where flammable liquids are used or
▪ Common ignition sources include:
▪ Open flames from cutting and welding
▪ Furnaces, matches, heaters, smoking materials
▪ Static electricity, friction sparks
▪ Motors, switches, circuit breakers
Prevention Strategy – Flammable & Combustible Materials - 5
▪ Materials that contribute to a flammable liquid fire should not be stored with flammable
liquids. For example,
▪ Organic peroxides
Prevention Strategy – Flammable & Combustible Materials - 6
▪ If a spill occurs:
Limit spread by diking with suitable absorbent material.
Minimize vapors by covering surface of spill with same absorbent material.
Notify supervisor immediately. Summon Fire Department, if necessary.
Ensure all sources of ignition are off or controlled.
Begin cleanup right away.
Prevention Strategy – Compressed Gas Cylinders - 1
▪ Gases in these cylinders can pose fire or explosion hazards, may be toxic, or
can displace oxygen in the area.
▪ Perform a visual inspection of the cylinder and refuse delivery if the cylinder
appears to be damaged or defective in any way.
▪ Cylinders must be stored in compatible groups, with flammables separated
from oxidizers and corrosives.
Prevention Strategy – Compressed Gas Cylinders - 2
▪ Oxygen cylinders must be at least 20 feet from flammable and combustible
▪ Separation can be by barrier that has a fire-rating of at least ½ hour, such as concrete
block or sheet metal, that is at least 5 feet in height.
▪ Gas cylinders, or any other hazardous material, cannot be stored in public
hallways or unprotected areas.
▪ Nonflammable cylinders must be at least 5 feet from exits or unprotected
openings such as windows.
▪ Flammable cylinders must be at least 25 feet from exits and windows.
▪ Keep valves closed and put caps on cylinders when not in use.
▪ Never store gas cylinders near radiators or other heat sources (including direct
▪ Contact EHSS Fire Safety for bulk storage rooms or new installations of storage
Prevention Strategy – Fire Protection Systems - 1
▪ If your building is not equipped with a fire alarm system, occupants will need to
communicate to others in the building by yelling “FIRE” as they exit the building,
or by other means as defined in the building’s Emergency Action Plan.
Prevention Strategy – Fire Protection Systems - 2
▪ Automatic fire alarm systems are installed to facilitate notification of building
occupants of a fire emergency.
▪ Various types of smoke and heat detectors, along with manual pull stations, are
linked to the alarm system.
▪ When activated, the fire alarm system sends sounds, an audible and/or visual alarm in
Prevention Strategy – Fire Protection Systems - 3
▪ Manually activated pull stations are located
along building exit routes.
▪ All buildings equipped with fire alarms will have
manual pull stations (i.e. red boxes).
Prevention Strategy – Fire Protection Systems - 4
▪ Fire suppression systems are more commonly
known as “sprinkler systems”, that use water, and
is designed to extinguish small fires and reduce the
spread of fire to provide building occupants time to
Prevention Strategy – Fire Protection Systems - 5
▪ The building fire alarm can also be
activated by smoke detectors or
manually without the sprinklers going
off. This is how a fire drill is
Prevention Strategy – Fire Protection Systems - 6
▪ Fire extinguishers can play an important role in the fire protection program. How
successfully they can function, however, depends upon the following conditions
having been met:
▪ Extinguisher is properly located, is the proper type for the fire, and is in working order.
▪ The fire is discovered while still small enough to be extinguished, and someone is ready,
willing, and able to use the extinguisher.
Prevention Strategy – Fire Protection Systems - 7
▪ Consider the following factors when selecting portable fire extinguishers :
Nature of flammables and combustibles in area,
Potential severity of any resulting fire,
Effectiveness and ease of use of the extinguisher,
Personnel available to operate the extinguisher, their physical abilities and emotional reactions,
Health and operational concerns,
Upkeep and maintenance requirements for the extinguisher.
Prevention Strategy – Misc. - 1
▪ Landscaping must not:
▪ Impede fire vehicle or emergency responder access to a building.
▪ Obstruct access to fire hydrants, fire department connections or
other fire sprinkler test valves and other emergency devices.
▪ Obstruct or cause a tripping hazard for occupants evacuating a
▪ Obstruct exits from doors, windows, or other designated evacuation
points from a building.
▪ Cables, equipment cords, etc. may not be placed in or run through
any permitted opening in a rated fire wall or smoke barrier, such as
through a door or within ventilation ductwork
Prevention Strategy – Misc. - 2
▪ All wood and metal shavings must be cleaned and removed from the building at
the end of the job or the workday.
▪ All shops with machinery that produces hazardous shavings or dust must have an
approved dust collection system.
▪ This system must be in operation any time the equipment is in use.
▪ For automotive and industrial shops, at the end of the work day or as necessary:
▪ Clean all work areas of oil to prevent buildup.
▪ Return all oils and flammables to their proper storage cabinet/area.
▪ Turn off all power equipment or unplug.
▪ Turn off all fuel valves and power to such systems.
▪ Parts washers may use flammable solvents. If possible, find a less hazardous
▪ Painting with flammable materials in paint booths to be located away from fire
Fire Alarms & Fire Drills
•Each Industry has at least two fire mock drills per year. One must evacuate the building
immediately each time the fire alarm sounds.
• Being a part of training, Prior intimation to be given to all concerned before mock drill, so that
no one is intimidated.
•The misuse of fire alarms, fire detection devices, or fire extinguishers constitutes a serious offense.
HOW TO EXTINGUISH SMALL FIRES
CLASS A- Extinguish ordinary combustibles by cooling the material below its
ignition temperature and soaking the fibers to prevent re-ignition.
Use pressurized water, foam or multi-purpose (ABC rated) dry chemical
extinguisher. DO NOT USE carbon dioxide or ordinary (BC-rated) dry chemical
extinguisher on Class A fires.
CLASS B: Extinguish flammable liquids, greases by removing the oxygen, preventing
the vapors from reaching the ignition source or inhibiting the chemical chain reaction.
Foam, carbon dioxide, ordinary (BC-rated) dry chemical, multi-purpose dry chemical, and
halon extinguishers may be used to fight Class B fires.
• CLASS C – Extinguish energized electrical equipment by using an extinguishing agent
that is not capable of conducting electrical current.
• Carbon dioxide, ordinary (BC-rated) dry chemical, multi-purpose dry chemical and
halon* fire extinguishers may be used to fight Class C fires. DO NOT USE WATER
EXTINGUISHERS ON ENERGIZED ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT.
• CLASS D: Extinguish combustible metals such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and
sodium with dry powder extinguishing agents specially designated for the material
• In most cases, they absorb the heat from the material, cooling it below its ignition
HOW TO USE A PORTABLE FIRE
• REMEMBER THE ACRONYM, “P.A.S.S.”
• P …….Pull the Pin
•A ……..Aim the extinguisher nozzle at base of the flame.
•S ………Squeeze trigger by holding the extinguisher erect.
•S ………Sweep the extinguisher from side to side.
NOTE: PULL A FIRE ALARM BOX AND ALERT OTHERS BEFORE YOU ATTEMPT TO USE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER.
Fire Extinguishers - Water
▪ Red body
▪ Suitable for use on Class A Fires, wood and
▪ Not suitable for combustible liquids, cooking
▪ Not safe to use on fires involving electricity
▪ Extinguishes by cooling
Fire Extinguishers - Foam
▪ Cream body (Old type) or Red Body with
▪ Suitable for Class A and B Fires.
▪ Not suitable for use on fires involving
▪ Extinguishes by cooling and sealing the
surface of a burning liquid
Fire Extinguishers - Powder
▪ Blue body (Old type) or Red body with blue
▪ Best on Class B fires but safe to use on any
type of fire.
▪ Works by chemically interfering with the
Fire Extinguishers -Carbon Dioxide
▪ Black body (Old type) or red body with black
label (New type)
▪ Best on Class B and C fires but safe to use on
any type of fire
▪ Safe to use on fires involving electricity
▪ Extinguishes by reducing oxygen levels and
Fire Extinguishers - Blanket
▪ Any colour body or label but they are usually red
▪ For use on any type of fire but best on small
contained class B fires and people on fire.
▪ Extinguishes by asphyxiating
▪ Portable fire extinguishers shall be inspected periodically and maintained in
accordance with Maintenance and Use of Portable Fire Extinguishers, NFPA
RESIDENCE HALL FIRE SURVIVAL
When you move in :
• Locate at least two emergency exits from your floor and make sure they are free of obstruction
•Note location of fire alarms, extinguishers or any other emergency equipment available.
•Note location of landmarks which may aid egress when visibility is reduced by smoke.
•Refamiliarize yourself with standard fire drill procedures.
•Become familiar with University fire and general safety regulations.
•Make sure the fire doors in halls and stair wells are closed
at all times.
•Extinguish all cigarettes and matches and empty wastebaskets
•Close door to your room when you retire. Exit when fire
• Smoke in bed.
• Burn candles.
• Allow an open flame (cigarette, candle, torch, etc.) or cooking
appliance (coffee pot, hot plae, etc.) near common combustible
material, i.e., wood, paper, textiles, or flammable liquid.
• Ignore fire alarm.
IN THE EVENT OF A FIRE:
• Remain calm. Act quickly, not rashly. Your objective is to survive. If you can exit safely, do so. If not, you
must work quickly to defend yourself against smoke and flame.
• Never open your door without first checking for heat or smoke. Close doors behind you.
• Do not allow doors to lock behind you. You may be forced to return.
• If smoke is encountered during egress, do not walk upright …crawl. The air is cooler and less toxic nearer
• Never use an elevator.
• If smoke is present in a stairwell, avoid it. Choose another route
• If your clothes catch fire…stop, drop, and roll to extinguish the flames.
• If you are in a room where fire starts, try to extinguish the fire if small. If the fire is too large, leave quickly.
Close the door and/ or call 101 for the Fire Department.
IF YOU ARE TRAPPED IN YOUR ROOM:
• Seal door/window cracks and ventilation grills with tape (preferably duct tape) or towels and/or clothing (preferably
wet) to keep smoke out. If there is smoke in the room, open the window to let it out. Hang out an article of cloth, large
enough for rescuers to see, out of a corner of the window. Close the window again and seal cracks. Keep window closed
to prevent outside smoke from entering.
• Do not break the window unless the room has been heavily invaded by smoke and you must get air to survive.
•Remember; stay close to the floor for air. Call the Fire department (101), & report the fire location and your situation.
•Tie a towel or clothing (preferably wet) around your nose and mouth if necessary to filter smoke.
•Do not jump!!
▪ Portable Fire Extinguisher Training
▪ Public Assembly Attendee Emergency Procedures Training
▪ Compressed Gas Cylinder Awareness
▪ Electrical Safety