What is the prevention of fire?Someone just told me that removing one of the three elaments ie heat or fuel or oxygen is the prevention of the fire. But I disagree with this as I think, we can do...

What is the prevention of fire?

Someone just told me that removing one of the three elaments ie heat or fuel or oxygen is the prevention of the fire. But I disagree with this as I think, we can do this to stop the fire.What are the precautions to avoid the potential fire?

Asked on by sanjiwan

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krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

It is important to understand that when we talk of preventing fire, we are talking of preventing fire in places that would result in damage to life and property. There are other places that there are places where fire is performing useful functions - like gas stoves in our kitchen.

Where fire does occur, desirable or undesirable, it is definitely the result of combination of three elements you have mentioned - that is, heat, fuel (or combustible material that burns), and oxygen. Fire is actually a process in which oxygen combines chemically with other material (elements or compounds) forming other compounds and releasing heat in the process. This process is called combustion, and the visible flame of fire are the hot gases and hot particle of other material released during the process of combustion. For any material the process of combustion can start only when it reaches a minimum temperature. This tempratu8re is different for different type of material and is called its ignition point.

We can use this knowledge about fire and combustion to use fire effectively where we need to and also to prevent and extinguish unwanted fires.

We can prevent fire by ensuring that at least one of the three contributing factors - heat, oxygen, and combustible material - is not present. The exact methods of prevention of fires will very much depend on the situation and place where the fire is to be prevented. For example in houses we will avoid keeping combustible material - that is material with low ignition point - in a way that may be spilled or released accidentally. But in a petroleum refinery the situation is quite different. You are handling highly combustible materials. Therefore, the method of fire prevention there concentrate on avoiding all possibility of occurrence of high temperature. There not only smoking is prohibited, but all electrical appliances used are designed specially to avoid any sparking.

Cutting off supply of oxygen is used for fire control for processes generating combustible gases. In such situation a screen of inert gas like nitrogen may be used to prevent the combustible gases from coming in direct contact with atmosphere. Cutting off oxygen supply is also used for putting out fires. This achieved by spraying the source of fire with inert gas like carbon-di-oxide or a special foam.

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