Fire Safety

Safety Moment

What is fire safety and how can I practice it?

Fire safety is the set of practices intended to reduce the destruction caused by fire. It should be applied to your daily life whether at home, out in public, or at your work as it will affect everyone.

What are some potential fire hazards?

Of course, the best way to practice fire safety is to make sure a fire doesn't break out in the first place. That means you should always be aware of potential hazards in your home. Below are some common fire hazards that you may encounter on a daily basis:

  • Kitchen fires from unattended cooking, such as frying, boiling, and simmering
  • Electrical systems that are overloaded, resulting in hot wiring or connections, or failed components
  • Combustibles near equipment that generates heat, flame, or sparks
  • Candles and other open flames
  • Smoking (Cigarettes, cigars, pipes, lighters, etc.)
  • Fireplace chimneys not properly or regularly cleaned
  • Cooking appliances - stoves, ovens
  • Heating appliances - fireplaces, wood burning stoves, furnaces, boilers, portable heaters
  • Household appliances - clothes dryers, curling irons, hair dryers, refrigerators, freezers
  • Leaking Batteries
  • Exterior cooking equipment – barbecue

What types of fire are there?

There are several different classifications of fires based primarily on the fuel source. Fire occurs when you have; heat, fuel, oxygen, and sustained chemical reaction. The fuel type determines the type of fire and the method that should be used to extinguish the fire. By understanding what each fire class means, you can understand which types of fire hazards are present. Once you are aware of what types of fires you may encounter, you can ensure you have the proper extinguisher for protecting against them.

Listed below are the different types of fire and how to extinguish them.

Class A


Class A fires are defined as ordinary combustibles. These types are fires use commonly flammable material as their fuel source. Wood, fabric, paper, trash and plastics are common sources of Class A fires. Trash fires are one such example. Class A fires are commonly put out with water or monoammonium phosphate.

Class B


The Class B fire is defined as one that uses a flammable liquid or gas as its fuel base. Common liquid-based fuel sources include gasoline, petroleum based oils and paints, and keroseneFlammable gases such as butane or propane are also common fuel sources. Smothering these types of fires to remove oxygen is a common solution as are chemical reactions that produce similar effects.

Class C


The Class C fire is defined as a fire that uses electrical components and/or energized equipment as its fuel source. Electrical fires are often fueled by motors, appliances and electronic transformers. Electrical fires are common in industries that deal with energy or make use of heavy electrically-powered equipment. However, electrical fires can occur on smaller scales (i.e. an overloaded surge protector or bad wiring) and should be taken seriously. To extinguish such fires you cut the power off and use non-conductive chemicals to extinguish the fire.

Class D


The Class D fire is defined as one that uses a combustible metal as its fuel source. Examples of such combustible metals include titanium, magnesium, aluminum, and potassium. Note that there are also other metals with combustive properties you may encounter. When confronted with such a fire, common extinguishing agents such as water are ineffective and can be hazardous. To extinguish a Class D fire, use a dry powder agent. This absorbs the heat and the fire requires to burn and mothers it as well.

Class K


A Class K fire is defined as a cooking fire involving combustion from liquids used in food preparation. Technically a type of liquid fire, Class K fires are distinct enough to warrant their own classification. Cooking fires are fueled by a wide range of liquid cooking materials. Greases, cooking oils, vegetable fat, and animal fat are all fuel sources found in Class K fires. Such fires can be very dangerous and far more destructive than you may think. Wet chemical fire extinguishers have become popular in putting out these types of fires.

How can I prevent a potential fire at work?

Fire safety at home is just as important as fire safety at work. Fire presents significant risk to you and your colleagues, who work in the same room and building as you. It can kill or seriously injure employees or visitors and can damage or destroy buildings, equipment and stock.

At the work place you should consider:

  • Emergency routes and exits
  • Fire detection and warning systems
  • Firefighting equipment
  • The removal or safe storage of dangerous substances
  • An emergency fire evacuation plan
  • Staff fire safety training