How to Prevent and Fight Fire.

The fast rate of development in our towns and cities has also created fire outbreaks that has led to destruction of life and properties in our urban areas.
Fire fighting must not be left for trained personnel alone, it is our collective responsibilities to also play our own part in preventing and fighting fire. Therefore everybody should know how fire occurs and how to extinguish it.
There are different kinds of fire outbreaks, infact no two fire are alike hence you need to have a technical grasp about nature of fire and ability to determine action to take in emergency situation.
Fire is as a result of combination of three elements-fuel, heat, and oxygen. Is a chemical reaction of two or more combustible substance resulting into the production of heat and light.
Fire has different rates of burning and spread, therefore it is classified under these main headings class A,B,C,D

Class A: These are fire involving solid materials normally of organic nature (compound of carbon in which combustion normally takes place with formation of glowing amber such as wood, papers, clothings, sawdust e.t.c

Class B: These are fire involving flammable liquid solid for the purpose of choosing effective extinguishing agent for this class, flammable liquid may be divided into two groups. These are
1, Liquid mixable with water e.g Alcohol
2, liquid that are immixable with liquid e.g Petrol

Class C: These are fire involving gases or liquefied gases such as methane, propane, oxygen and propane.

Class D: These are fire involving metal in solid or powder e.g aluminium, magnesium, iron ,potassium, lead, Zinc e.t.c

There are a lot of ways fire can be caused but there are three major causes-Carelessness, Accident and Arson.
Carelessness is often caused by oversight or loose action from an individual. These can be as a result of-
(i) Children playing with matches
(ii) Failure to shut down Gas central valve after use
(iii) Burning of Refuse or Bush
(iv) Smoking on bed
(v) Quicken fire with parafine or petrol
(vi) Deposit of hot ashes in wooden bakes or unsuitable places
(vii) Careless discharge of cigarette
(viii) Accumulation of Refuse
(ix) Keeping electrical apparatus in the vicinity of combustible materials
(x) Lighting of candle without protected base
(xi) Fuelling a vehicle tank while while the engine is running
(xii) Careless storage of flammable liquids at home

Accident is caused by chemical reaction of elements resulting in explosion in either confined or exposed situation. This case can be distrastrious when two elements collide/combine together and give corrosive smell or smoke, common cases is when two vehicles collides together and results to fire.

Arson is when someone deliberately put fire to a property out of rage, jealousy or sabotage.
This is common among the politicians when you see opposing group trying to outdo the other by destroying properties, also protest can cause people to put fire in properties.

(1) Do not leave cigarette end in an ashtrays without stubbing it out.
(2) Do not throw cigarette end on the floor worse on rug without stamping it out
(3) Do not use combustible items such as paper plastics as an ash trays
(4) Do not leave electrical appliances switched on and unattended
(5) Do not place combustible materials near an electrical appliance
(6) Do not leave electrical appliances switched on at night and unattended
(7) Do not discard a match stick loosely without ensuring that it has gone out
(8) Do not have more than one plug to a socket or overload it
(9) Do not slack goods to the ceiling or electrical equipment
(10) Do not fiddle with fire alarm installations
(11) All waste and rubbish should be deposited at the appropriate gabbage depot.
(12) Always switch off all electrical apparatus after office or when you are living your house. All cables should be properly clipped to the wall and those not in use should be disconnected from the current and removed totally from the wall to prevent electrocution.
(13) Avoid filthy environment because it aids quick spread of fire.
(14) Goods of the same products should be encouraged to be stored together so that in case of fire appropriate extinguisher medium can be used to penetrate and subdue it power.
(15) Install automatic fire alarm, alarm system, sprinkler, especially in offices
(16) Strict fire prevention rules like no smoking, regular check of electrical equipments and security precaution against arsonists.

Fire extinction can be classified under three main headings
(i)Starvation: Removing materials that are yet to be burnt by a ranging fire or isolating it.
(ii)Cooling: Removing heat content from burning materials
(iii)Smoothering: Cutting off oxygen which aids combustion or a major part of it.

Types of Fire Fighting extinguisher
There are four different types of portable fire extinguisher that can be used in your home at incipient stages, they are
i, Water Co2 fire extinguisher-This is a gas cartridge type that consists a cylindrical container with water capacity of 9 litres or 2 gallons. It must be recharged after each use.
ii, Foam extinguisher –mechanical and chemical types-These produces foam which follows down on burning liquid and form a blanketing layer, it extinguishes the fire by cutting off the oxygen. It should also be recharged immediately after use.
ii, Extinguisher that expel vapour forming liquid or gas-also called carbon di oxide, It contains a steel cylinder with a liquefied gas fitted at the head with a sealing disc.
iii, Dry chemical powder fire extinguisher-This is filled with gas and serves as an expellant.
To operate these extinguisher, place in upright position uncoil hose remove plunger to pierce the gas cartridge and direct the resultant powder in sweeping motion from the windward to the fire. This also has to be recharged after use.

i, Raise an alarm to attract the attention of others
ii, Evacuate the building
iii, Do not panic
iv, Do not pull or push others
v, Go to the assembly points gently
vi, take roll call
vii, Attack the fire with the appropriate extinguisher provided without taking any risk

An architect with decades of experience

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