#64 Fire Prevention
Let’s talk about what makes a fire and what we can do to prevent one. Fire can be compared to a triangle. Three sides (ingredients) are necessary to cause a fire. These elements are heat, air, and fuel. If any one of these three sides is missing, there can be no fire.
HEAT. The first side of the fire triangle can come from many sources. It can be generated by sparks from welding operations, discarded cigarette butts, electrical shorts, frayed wiring, friction from power tools and hot exhaust pipes.
FUEL. The second side of the fire triangle may be liquid, such as gasoline or solvents; a solid such as paper or wood scraps; or a gas, such as propane.
AIR. The third side of the fire triangle contains oxygen, which is necessary to sustain a fire. This is one side of the triangle we can’t do much about. Air is most always present.
Heat, fuel, and air must be in the proper proportion for fire to occur. For example, there may not be enough heat or air to ignite the fuel and cause it to burn.
Eliminating the Triangle
If you remove any one of the three ingredients that make up the fire triangle, you will prevent or extinguish the fire. We can help prevent fires by doing the following:
- Maintaining a neat and clean work area, thus preventing an accumulation of rubbish.
- Putting oily or paint-soaked rags in covered metal containers.
- Observing all “No Smoking” signs.
- Keeping all combustible materials away from furnaces or other sources of ignition.
- Reporting any fire hazards we, personally, cannot eliminate. This includes electrical hazards, which are the source of many fires.