Fire is a chemical reaction involving rapid oxidation or burning of a fuel. It
needs three elements to occur:
- Fuel can be any combustible material - solid, liquid or gas. Most solids
and liquids become a vapor or gas before they will burn.
- The air we breathe is about 21 percent oxygen. fire only needs an
atmosphere with at least 16 percent oxygen.
- 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.
- A chain reaction can occur when the three elements of fire are present in the
proper conditions and proportions. Fire occurs when this rapid oxidation, or
burning takes place. Take any one of these factors away, and the fire cannot
occur or will be extinguished if it was already burning.
Class A: Ordinary combustibles:
Keep storage and working areas free of trash Place oily rags in covered containers.
Class B: Flammable liquids or gases:
gasoline-powered equipment in a confined space, especially in the
presence of an open flame such as a furnace or water heater.
Don't refuel gasoline-powered equipment while it's hot.
liquids stored in tightly closed, self-closing, spill-proof containers.
Pour from storage drums only what you'll need.
Store flammable liquids away from spark-producing sources.
Use flammable liquids only in well-ventilated areas.
Class C: Electrical equipment:
Look for old wiring, worn insulation and broken electrical fittings. Report any hazardous condition to your supervisor.
from overheating by keeping them clean and in good working order. A
spark from a rough-running motor can ignite the oil and dust in it.
should always have some type of wire guard over them. Heat from an
uncovered light bulb can easily ignite ordinary combustibles.
Don't misuse fuses. Never install a fuse rated higher than specified for the circuit.
Investigate any appliance or electrical equipment that smells strange. Unusual odors can be the first sign of fire.
Don't overload wall outlets. Two outlets should have no more than two plugs.
Class D: Flammable metals:
metals such as magnesium and titanium generally take a very hot heat
source to ignite; however, once ignited are difficult to extinguish as
the buring reaction produces sufficient oxygen to support combusion,
even under water.
In some cases,
covering the burning metal with sand can help contain the heat and
sparks from the reaction. Class D exinguishing agents are available
(generally as a dry powder in a bucket or box) which can be quite
effective, but these agents are rare on the campus.
If you are
planning a research project using a large amount of flammable metals
you should consider purchasing a five or ten pound container of Class-D
extinguishing agent as a precaution.
such as potassium and sodium react violently (even explosively) with
water and some other chemicals, and must be handled with care.
Generally these metals are stored in sealed containers in a
non-reactive liquid to prevent decay (surface oxidation) from contact
with moisture in the air.
phosphorus is air-reactive and will burn/explode on contact with room
air. It must be kept in a sealed container with a non-reactive solution
to prevent contact with air.
All of these
metals are not uncommon in labs on the OU campus, but are generally
only found in small quantities and accidental fires/reactions can be
controlled or avoided completely through knowledge of the properties of
the metals and using good judgement and common sense.
When not to fight a
Fire, Never fight a fire
If the fire is spreading beyond the spot where it started
If you can't fight the fire with your back to an escape exit
If the fire can block your only escape
If you don't have adequate fire-fighting equipment
In any of these situations,
DON'T FIGHT THE FIRE YOURSELF. CALL FOR HELP.
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
extinguishers. DO NOT USE carbon dioxide or ordinary (BC-rated) dry
chemical extinguishers on Class A fires.
Class B - Extinguish flammable
liquids, greases or gases by removing the oxygen, preventing the vapors
from reaching the ignition source or inhibiting the chemical chain
Foam, carbon dioxide, ordinary (BC-rated) dry chemical, multi-purpose
dry chemical, and halon extinguishers may be used to fight Class B
Class C - Extinguish energized
electrical equipment by using an extinguishing agent that is not
capable of conducting electrical currents.
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
* Even though halon is widely used, phasing it out of use in favor of
agents less harmful to the environment is advisable.
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 temperature.
NOTE: Multipurpose (ABC-rated)
chemical extinguishers leave a residue that can harm sensitive
equipment, such as computers and other electronic equipment. Because of
this, carbon dioxide or halon extinguishers are preferred in these
instances because they leave very little residue.
ABC dry powder residue is mildly corrosive to many metals. For example,
residue left over from the use of an ABC dry powder extinguisher in the
same room with a piano can seriously corrode piano wires.
Carbon dioxide or halon extinguishers are provided for most labs and
computer areas on campus.
How to identify the proper Fire Extinguisher
All ratings are shows on the extinguisher
faceplate. Some extinguishers are marked with multiple ratings such as
AB, BC and ABC. These extinguishers are capable of putting out more
than one class of fire.
Class A and B extinguishers carry a
numerical rating that indicates how large a fire an experienced person
can safely put out with that extinguisher.
Class C extinguishers have only a letter
rating to indicate that the extinguishing agent will not conduct
electrical current. Class C extinguishers must also carry a Class A or
Class D extinguishers carry only a letter rating indicating their effectiveness on certain amounts of specific metals.
How to use a portable Fire Extinguisher
P- Pull the Pin.
A- Aim the extinguisher nozzle at the base of the flames.
S- Squeeze trigger while holding the extinguisher upright.
S- Sweep the extinguisher from side to side, covering the area of the fire with the extinguishing agent.
- Should your path of escape be threatened
- Should the extinguisher run out of agent
- Should the extinguisher prove to be ineffective
- Should you no longer be able to safely fight the fire ...
THEN LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY!
How to inspect your Fire Extinguishers
Know the locations of the fire extinguishers in your work area.
Make sure the class of the extinguisher is safe to use on fires likely to occur in the immediate area.
Check the plastic seal holding the pin in
the extinguisher handle. Has the extinguisher been tampered with or
used before? Report any broken/missing seals/pins to the Fire Unit of
Look at the gauge and feel the weight. Is the extinguisher full? Does it need to be recharged?
A written, up-to-date Emergency Action Plan
for your dorm/workplace is essential in case of emergency. Make sure
you read and understand your department's/dorm's Emergency Action Plan.
Contact us for such inspection or call Marshal- Fire Cell customer support at
25493312 or 25493313
How to use an Emergency Action Plan
A written, up-to-date Emergency Action Plan
for your workplace is essential in case of emergency. Make sure you
read and understand your department's/dorm's Emergency Action Plan.
The plan should contain information about evacuation from the facility,
including who is in charge of the evacuation.
Primary and secondary escape routes should be outlined for every area
of the building. Since stairways are the primary escape route in
multiple story buildings (elevators should NEVER be used in fire
emergencies), they should not be used for any kind of storage.
Emergency Action Leaders should be assigned specific duties, such as
verifying that all students/faculty/staff have evacuated.
Pre-fire planning must clearly show the locations of the workstations
of the disabled workers.
Disabled workers and those with known medical problems such as heart
disease or epilepsy, should EACH be assigned an Emergency Action Leader
to guide them to safety.
All workers who might need assistance during a fire should be
identified during planning.
Fire drills should be scheduled to test the Emergency Action Plan. Let
the drill be used to find problems before a fire happens, then make the
All university housing has prepared Emergency Action Plans. These are
generally posted on the inside of individual dorm/guest room doors.
If your department does not have an Emergency Action Plan, contact your
department head and get one! If your department needs assistance in
creating an Emergency Action Plan, contact the Fire Unit of Marshal at
25493312 or 25493313 for assistance.
How to evacuate a bruning building
The last one out of the room should not
lock the door, just close it. Locking the door hinders the fire
department's search and rescue efforts.
Proceed to the exit as outlined in the Emergency Action Plan.
NEVER, NEVER use elevators/lift under any circumstances.
Stay low to avoid smoke and toxic gases. The best air is close to the floor, so crawl if necessary.
If possible, cover your mouth and nose with a damp cloth to help you breathe.
If you work in a building with multiple
stories, a stairway will be your primary escape route. Most enclosed
stairwells in buildings over two stories are "rated" enclosures and
will provide you a safe means of exit; don't panic descend stairs
slowly and carefully.
Once in the stairwell, proceed down to the first floor. Never go up.
Once outside the building, report to a predetermined area so that a head count can be taken.
What to do if trapped in a building
If you're trying to escape a fire, never
open a closed door without feeling it first. Use the back of your hand
to prevent burning your palm. If the door is hot, try another exit. If
none exists, seal the cracks around the doors and vents with anything
If in a dorm room, use wet towels to seal
the space under the door and prevent the entry of smoke. Cracks around
the door can be sealed with masking tape if necessary.
If trapped, look for a nearby phone and call the fire department, giving them your exact location.
If breathing is difficult, try to ventilate the room, but don't wait for an emergency to discover that window can't be opened.
If on an upper floor and your window is of
a type that CANNOT be opened, DON'T break it out- you'll be raining
glass down on rescuers and people exiting the building. If you can't
contact the fire department by phone, wave for attention at the window.
What to do if someone catches on Fire
If you should catch on fire:
STOP - where you are
DROP - to the floor
ROLL - around on the floor
This will smother the flames, possibly saving your life.
Just remember to STOP, DROP and ROLL.
If a co-worker catches on fire, smother
flames by grabbing a blanket or rug and wrapping them up in it. That
could save them from serious burns or even death.
KNOWLEDGE - AWARENESS - PREPARATION
These are your keys to preventing and surviving fires wherever they occur.
For more information contact: Help Desk.
Brought to you by Bibin Mathews-General Manager (Marshal Security Services), in the interest of the public. Any comments or
suggestions may please be forwarded to Webmaster.