Understanding Basic Elements of Fire

When it is harnessed, fire can be extraordinarily useful to people. Without it, people couldn’t cook food or weld things together or keep warm. Fire can easily come into existence, though, through myriad scenarios, in ways that are not controlled. In a house fire, a typical blaze is capable of doubling in size every minute. With a burning capacity that could reach up to 1500 degrees at the ceiling, all the while flooding the house with rolling clouds of black smoke, fires destroy quickly and efficiently.

What Is Fire?

Fire is a reaction in which substances fuse chemically with oxygen to create heat, light and smoke. On a small scale, a match is lit and the sulphur on its tip transforms into a tiny, ephemeral fire. In a grease fire, cooking oil is heated to its point of combustion and will begin to smoke and then burst into flames. When lightning falls from the sky, a literal bolt of fire can strike a tree and immediately set it ablaze.

Fire is not something that exists naturally until it is created by a chemical reaction. The Fire Triangle consists of fuel, heat and oxygen. A fire tetrahedron includes those elements plus a chemical reaction. If you were at a state training facility Texas, learning fire safety, you might see that when one of these elements is removed, the fire will not burn, or will burn out quickly.

What Is Fire Capable Of?

Fire has two faces: the benevolent and the malevolent. While it offers immeasurable benefits to mankind, it is equally capable of utter destruction. It can be used to help keep forests healthy by clearing forest floors. It can turn a human body into ash. In the great fire of London in 1666, it burned down over 13,000 buildings over four days time. Such is its ability to absorb whatever it comes into contact with, especially wooden-framed houses.

Thousands of people die every year from smoke inhalation alone. When a fire occupies an enclosed space, it sucks the oxygen out of the room, leaving somebody trapped inside to try to find breath amidst thick, hot and blinding smoke.

How Can You Best Fight Fire?

A wise first step when it comes to buildings is the application of smoke detectors because attention is critical, and the sooner the better. Firefighters use many techniques and apparatus to control or limit fire damage. Over centuries, they have studied the logistics of fire and have put into play hydrants for limitless water supply, ladders to get level with it or above it, thick hoses to douse it with voluminous amounts of water, and aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) to suffocate it.

Jack Henry

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