Members of the fire service shake their heads when movies come to the theatre or on television showing fires and fire rescues. The hero always goes in at the last minute and saves the day. Television firefighters are able to do amazing rescues with a blazing fire above and around them with ease.
When you see the hero running out of the room with a rescued child and the flames rolling over his head and behind him, know that this is not reality. If that room were in a fire condition, the ceiling temperature would be 1250 degrees and it would be 600 degrees at waist height.
In a fire situation it is hot and as black as you can possibly imagine.
“On my hands and knees conducting a search for building occupants I put a large radar lamp in front of my breathing apparatus face piece. I could not see the light. That is the total blackness of a real fire.”
Some people confidently state that if there was a fire they would wake up, due to their keen sense of smell.
That is very interesting since a person that is sleeping does not have any sense of smell!
Please learn about fire awareness, fire safety and early warning devices to alert you of danger like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors or fire alarm systems. Learning how to properly select and use a portable fire extinguisher can make the difference between a small fire quickly extinguished or a devastating disaster.
Your survival depends on it.
To exist fire needs three factors: heat, oxygen and fuel. Fire is a chemical reaction accompanied by the creation of heat and light. Combustible substances, when heated to a certain temperature (Ignition Temperature) in normal air (Oxygen) will burn. This burning will create more heat to elevate the temperature, thus causing the fire to gain in intensity and spread.
The three factors are often referred to as the fire triangle. Each of the sides represents one of the factors necessary for combustion to occur. If any one of the factors is removed, the fire will go out.
This is the basis for fire control and extinguishment. Heat can be removed by cooling the burning substance below its ignition temperature. Oxygen can be removed or reduced by excluding the air from the fire surface. Fuel can be removed by stopping the flow of fuel if it was a liquid, or by removing the fuel to a place with no flame.
Portable fire extinguishers extinguish fires by either cooling thereby removing the heat or by smothering thereby excluding the oxygen.
A burn is slight or severe damage to your skin from heat. The severity of the damage is classed in three levels or degrees.
A first degree burn only reaches the outer layer of the skin. Unless the burn covers a large area of the body or affects the eyes, it will not be severe. The skin may have a few blisters with little or no swelling and appear pink or red.
Common examples of a first degree burn include sunburns or small minor burns from handling a hot object. Healing time for a first degree burn is usually two to five days.
A second degree burn destroys the outer layer of skin and injures the middle layer. A minor second degree burn appears like a first degree burn. The skin in major second degree burn will be red, blistered and swollen.
A third degree burn destroys all three layers of skin including underlying tissue and nerve endings. A third degree burn appears red with white or black charred areas. There may be little or no pain at first. Healing time for third degree burns can take weeks, months or even years to heal.
The affected area should be dipped in cold water for a first or second degree burn. A moist cold towel against the burn covered in a dry bandage is also an appropriate first aid for a first or second degree burn.
Cover a third degree burn with a wet sterile cloth or dressings. Do not remove clothing unless it is still burning or smouldering as the skin may be stuck to the clothing and seek immediate medical attention.
Never use ointments, butter, margarine or other greasy substances on burns. Grease holds in the heat which can worsen the injury.
A smoke alarm is a self-contained warning device, designed to activate an alarm sound upon detection of smoke. It may be battery operated or 120 Volt AC hard wired.
People with working, properly installed smoke alarms have nearly a 50% better chance of surviving a fire.
The effective life expectancy of a smoke alarm is 10 years. Even if it appears to work when tested it should be replaced to reduce the potential for failure.
The two types of smoke alarms are the ionization type and the photoelectric type.
The ionization type alarm uses “ions” or electrically charged particles to detect smoke in the air. Smoke particles entering the sensing chamber change the electrical balance of the air. The greater amount of smoke the higher the electrical imbalance. The alarm will sound when the electrical imbalance reaches a preset level.
The photoelectric type alarm uses a beam of light and a light sensor in its sensing chamber. The sensing chamber is designed so that the light beam does not strike the sensor, but smoke particles entering the chamber deflect the light onto the sensor. The greater the amount of smoke entering the chamber, the more light will be deflected onto the sensor. The alarm sounds when the amount of light hitting the sensor reaches a preset level.
A fire that generates a lot of small smoke particles (hot flaming fire) will cause an ionization smoke alarm to sound sooner than a photoelectric. The time delay between the two is very small. A fire with a lot of large smoke particles (smouldering fire)will cause a photoelectric smoke alarm to sound sooner than an ionization type.
If you want the advantages of both you can install one of each type everywhere a smoke alarm is required or recommended or you can buy combination smoke alarm units which contain both sensing types.
Install smoke alarms according to the manufacturers’installation instructions that are provided in the smoke alarm packaging
Smoke alarms should be tested monthly by pressing the test button. Never use real smoke, as residue may coat the sensing chamber and make the unit inoperable.
Replace batteries once a year. Pick a date to remember. Some newer smoke alarms come with a ten year battery.
Vacuum over and around the smoke alarm regularly to keep dust and debris out of the unit.
Carbon monoxide is a deadly, colourless, odourless, invisible gas that is created from the incomplete burning of a fossil fuel. (wood, oil, natural gas etc) Sources found in the home include cooking and heating equipment as well as vehicles running in attached garages.
Carbon monoxide replaces the oxygen in our bloodstream will eventually cause suffocation.
At lower levels of exposure carbon monoxide poisoning will cause minor effects often mistaken for the flu. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue. The effects of carbon monoxide exposure can vary greatly from person to person depending on age, overall health and the concentration and length of exposure.
Medical experts believe that unborn babies, infants, children, senior citizens and people with heart or lung problems are at even greater risk.
How can I protect myself from the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning?
Install a least one Underwriters Laboratories listed carbon monoxide alarm with an audible warning signal near the sleeping areas and outside individual bedrooms. Carbon monoxide alarms measure levels over time and are designed to sound and alarm before an average healthy adult would experience symptoms. It is possible that you may not be experiencing symptoms when you hear the alarm. This does not mean that carbon monoxide is not present.
Have a qualified technician check all fuel burning appliances, furnaces, venting and chimney systems at least once a year.
Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi or outdoor barbecue indoors or in the garage.
Never keep a car running in a garage even if the garage doors are open.