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fire prevention

Accidents due to fire cause enormous damage to properties, manpower and materials. It can be noted that the origin of fire is combustion. The main factors for combustions are presence of oxygen, availability of combustible materials and rise of temperature to the ignition point for the material. The cause of fire accidents may be electric-short circuit, carelessness and ignorance, spontaneous combustion, riots and rivalry etc. Prevention of the fire involves preventing spreading of fire by covering it with incombustible material, rescuing the affected persons from the spot, cooling ignition point of combustible items, taking suitable precautions and educating the all staff and workers about the possible hazards out of the consumables that spread fires, color coding of pressure vessel containing combustible fluids, maintaining fire extinguisher and water points in shop floor for proper precaution in case fire hazard. In case of outbreak of fire, immediate, corrective action is very much essential in order to provide the best possible chance of extinguishing the fire as quickly as possible, thus reducing danger to life and other damages to the minimum possible extent. As soon as fire breaks out, the fire alarm must be raised to alert all. All employees must be fire conscious and must know the fire drill, position of the nearest fire point and the nearest telephone or fire alarm. Near to equipments such as blow lamps and welding torches, which may lead to fire hazards, a suitable fire-extinguisher should be placed well within the easy reach of every one. Fire drills and fire orders should be displayed on all departmental notice boards and at all fire points. All employees must make themselves familiar with these orders. Fire exits and the escape routes should be clearly marked and kept free from all kinds of obstructions. It is also very important to stop fighting the fire and leave the area as soon as the fire appears to be beyond control or escape route is threatened by fire or smoke obscures or threatens to obscure the escape route. As far as possible, fire-extinguishers should be supported by brackets firmly fixed to the wall at a convenient height at all fire points. There should be an instruction plate for display along each side of an extinguisher, which gives details of operation and the type of fire for which the particular extinguisher is suitable.

The following precautions should be taken for fire prevention:

1. The maximum number of workers and officers should be trained with fire fighting systems and equipments.

2. Keep all flammable liquids in closed containers or in safe cylinders.

3. Effective fire warning signals.

4. All doors should be opened towards outside the workroom as means of escape in case of fire.

5. The doors and windows to be used as exit in case of fire should be easily located. These should be marked with red letters of adequate size.

6. Always select the least flammable liquid that will serve the purpose.

7. One should provide ventilation to prevent any accumulation of vapors.

8. Always provide suitable and adequate means of fire extinguishment.

9. Every operator should be familiar with the location of fire extinguishers and their use (operation).

10. Proper clearance should always be there in between the heating device and any combustible material.

11. Electrical wiring should be proper.

12. Always prohibit smoking, open flames and sparks near the flammable materials.

13. A free passageways and easily open-able windows should be always provided.

14. Provide always suitable means for the safe storage and handling of all fuel used.

15. Use of flammable liquids should be minimized.

16. Safe disposal for the flammable liquid wastes must be provided.

17. No one is permitted to accumulate fuels or other combustibles near the source of open fire or spark.

TYPES OF FIRE

There are three major types of fires which are given as under. Type 1 Fires occurring due burning of ordinary combustible materials such as wood, cloth and paper.  Pouring water is the most effective way for extinguishing this kind of fire. Type 2 Fires occurring due burning of flammable liquids such as oils, petrol, grease and fat. For extinguishing, blanket or smother this kind of fire, thus excluding oxygen, water must never be used. Type 3 Fires in this category involve live electrical equipment. The extinguishing agent must be non-conducting of electricity and water must not be used for extinguishing this kind of fire. There are five basic kinds of fire extinguishers commonly used which are discussed as under.

1. Dry Powder Extinguishers These extinguishers filled with dry powder may be of the gas pressure or stored air pressure type. They are suitable for use on both Type 2 and Type 3 fires.

2. Foam Extinguishers These are of two main types commonly called mechanical foam and chemical foam type of fire extinguishers. They are effective against Type 2 fires.

3. Carbon Dioxide Type Fire Extinguishers These are filled with the carbon dioxide. It is operated by means of a plunger, lever trigger or by opening a valve. It is fitted with a distinctively shaped discharge horn. This type of fire extinguisher has only limited effectiveness against Type 1 kind of fires. It is suitable for extinguishing type 2 and 3 kinds of fires.

4. Water Filled Fire Extinguishers The soda acid kind is the most common kind of water extinguishers. They are most suitable for extinguishing  fire for type 1. Such fires are resulting from ordinary combustible materials such as wood cloth and paper.

5. Vaporizing Liquid Type Fire Extinguishers They may be filled with either carbon tetrachloride (CTC.) or chlorobromethane (CBM) where as CTC kinds of extinguishers may be of the pump, gas cartridge or stored pressure type. And CBM may be either gas cartridge or stored pressure. These extinguishers are most effective against electrical kind of fire (Type 3).

6. Stored Air Pressure Type Extinguishers In stored air pressure type extinguishers, the container is pressurized with air when the extinguisher is filled. The extinguisher is trigger operated and operation can be stopped at any time by releasing the trigger grip. It is suitable for type 1 kind of fire only.

7. Gas Pressure Type Extinguishers In gas pressure type extinguishers the water is expelled under pressure provided by carbon dioxide gas released from cartridge filled inside the container. It is suitable for Type 1 kind of fire.

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