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THE FIRE TRIANGLE
Let's talk about what makes a fire and what we can do
to prevent one. Fire can be compared to a triangle. Three sides are necessary to
make a triangle and three ingredients are necessary to cause a fire. These are
heat, air, and fuel. If any one of these three sides is missing, there can be no
Heat, the first side of
the fire triangle, can come from many sources. It can be generated by sparks
from welding operations, discarded cigarette butts, electrical shorts, frayed
wiring, friction from power tools, and hot exhaust pipes.
Fuel, the second side
of the fire triangle, may be liquid, such as gasoline or solvents; a solid, such
as paper or wood scraps; or a gas, such as propane.
Air, the third side of
the fire triangle, contains oxygen which is necessary to sustain a fire. This is
one side of the triangle we can't do much about. Air is usually present.
Heat, fuel, and air must be in the proper proportion for fire to occur.
It is possible to have these three ingredients without causing a fire. For
example, there may not be enough heat or air to ignite the fuel and cause it to
ELIMINATING THE TRIANGLE
Let's talk about what
we can do to prevent the fire triangle from forming. Remember that if you remove
any one of the three ingredients, you will prevent or extinguish the fire. We
can help prevent fires by doing the following:
1. Maintaining a neat
and clean work area, thus preventing an accumulation of rubbish.
2. Putting oily or
paint-soaked rags in covered metal containers.
3. Observing all
"No Smoking" signs
4. Keeping all
combustible materials away from furnaces or other sources of ignition.
5. Reporting any fire
hazards we, personally, cannot eliminate. This includes electrical hazards,
which are the source of many fires.
6. Arranging cold
weather heating devices so that tarps won't blow into them.
WHEN YOU KNOW THE ANGLES
When you know the angles, it's easier to prevent and control fires. Remember the fire triangle: heat, air, and fuel. When you find these three ingredients present, take heed. Afire could be in the making.
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