Fire is PREVENTABLE, and by understanding fire, you can begin to reduce the risks of a fire starting.
To create a fire, you need FUEL, OXYGEN and HEAT – this is known as the fire triangle.
Once they are combined, these elements simply need something as small as a match or a spark to start a fire. Most people are pretty ‘fire savvy’ and know what to look out for or avoid but when we wrote our Fire Awareness Training we found that there are still situations where people are putting the elements of the fire triangle together without realising it.
Here are five of the most obvious BUT overlooked fire hazards:
- Propping open fire doors
FIRE DOORS delay the transfer of heat, smoke and fire for at least 30 minutes, so keep them closed. Fire doors are usually required to isolate key areas where fires are more likely to occur, such as kitchens. Keeping them open increases the chances of fires spreading and puts more lives in danger.
- Overloading potential ignition sources
Potential ignition sources are objects that produce heat, such as toasters, heaters or electrical supplies and equipment. Damaged cables, overloaded power sockets, and chargers are also potential ignition sources. The best time to fight a fire is before it starts, so be cautious around potential ignition sources. If you take a look around the room right now, chances are you’ll see a few!
- Disposing of cigarettes near the rubbish bins or not emptying cigarette bins
Many fire-related deaths that happen in non-residential buildings are caused by smoking. So things like ONLY smoking in designated areas, and disposing of cigarettes and other smoking materials CORRECTLY is a MUST. It will greatly reduce the risk of a fire starting.
- Watering plants on top of or near computers
Most office plants are looked after by external agencies, who should be aware of the risks involved with watering plants, but if you feel the call of the green thumbs make sure you are not putting yourself at risk. Only water your plant with a fine water spray aimed away from any potential ignition source (computer's, power sockets, radios etc.)
- Not annually servicing or using the incorrect type of fire extinguisher
Fire extinguishers are not designed to last forever. they require annual servicing and refilling (even if they haven't been used). More importantly, if you use the wrong type of fire extinguisher on a fire you can exacerbate rather than douse the fire.
And even then, a lot of people don't know how to bet put out a fire should it occur. There are 6 different classes of fire:
Class A - materials like wood, paper and fabric
Class B - liquids such as petrol, oil or paint
Class C - gases that are flammable like methane or butane
Class D - metals that are combustible
Class F - cooking oils e.g. a chip pan fire
Electrical - fires from electrical sources, but once the source is taken away it turns into another class.
To find out more about how to best handle these different classes of fire, see our 'What are the different types of Fire Extinguishers?' blog.
Our Fire Safety Training
If you’ve looked around your workplace and seen a few too many fire hazards it might be time for you and your team to refresh their fire awareness training.
With our range of Fire Safety Training Courses for various industries and Fire Warden Training, we provide key information to keep yourself and employees safe in the event of a fire. We cover things such as the nature of fire, fire signage, fire hazards, extinguishers and the emergency procedures.