ANSI Z308.1-2015 Standard Minimum Requirements  Workplace First Aid Kits and Supplies - Buy new ANSI Kits
ANSI Z308.1-2015 Standard Minimum Requirements Workplace First Aid Kits and Supplies - Buy new ANSI Kits

The Fire Triangle

Fire_triangleIn order to understand how fire extinguishers work, you first need to know a little bit about fire. Four things must be present at the same time in order to produce fire:

  • Enough oxygen to sustain combustion,
  • Enough heat to raise the material to its ignition temperature,
  • Some sort of fuel or combustible material, and
  • The chemical, exothermic reaction that is fire.

Oxygen, heat, and fuel are frequently referred to as the "fire triangle." Add in the fourth element, the chemical reaction, and you actually have a fire "tetrahedron." The important thing to remember is: take any of these four things away, and you will not have a fire or the fire will be extinguished.

Get your home fire safety and evacuation ready! Get your home fire safety and evacuation ready!

Essentially, fire extinguishers put out fire by taking away one or more elements of the fire triangle/tetrahedron.

Fire safety, at its most basic, is based upon the principle of keeping fuel sources and ignition sources separate.

Fire Extinguishers - OSHA Safety Training: Among all the safety problems an employee can encounter, fire can be the most frightening. Every year fires cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage and result in thousands of employee injuries, a number of which are fatal. Yet many of these catastrophes could have been prevented if the fire had been extinguished before it started to spread.

Classifications of Fuels

Not all fuels are the same, and if you use the wrong type of fire extinguisher on the wrong type of fuel, you can, in fact, make matters worse. It is therefore very important to understand the four different classifications of fuel.

Class A - Wood, paper, cloth, trash, plastics.  Solid combustible materials that are not metals.

Class B - Flammable liquids: gasoline, oil, grease, acetone.  Any non-metal in a liquid state, on fire.

Class C - Electrical: energized electrical equipment.  As long as it's "plugged in," it would be considered a class C fire.

Class D - Metals: potassium, sodium, aluminum, magnesium
Unless you work in a laboratory or in an industry that uses these materials, it is unlikely you'll have to deal with a Class D fire. It takes special extinguishing agents (Metal-X, foam) to fight such a fire.

Fire Extinguishers & Fire Prevention - OSHA Safety Training:

Our training products on "Using Fire Extinguishers" look at why things burn, review the types of fire extinguishers that are found in facilities today, and discuss how to use fire extinguishers to fight small fires. Topics covered in these products include:

  • What causes things to burn.
  • The concept of "flashpoint".
  • "Classes" of fires.
  • Fire extinguisher labels.
  • Chemical fire extinguishers.
  • Water fire extinguishers.
  • How to use a fire extinguisher.
  • and more.

Fire Prevention - Office, Industrial & Healthcare Environments - OSHA Safety Training: Among all the safety problems an employee can encounter, fire can be the most frightening. Every year fires in businesses and healthcare facilities cause millions of dollars in damage and result in hundreds of injuries, a number of which are fatal. Yet many employees do not realize how their own actions, or inactions, can contribute to the risk of fire.

See our Fire Prevention & Safety Training Materials! See our Fire Prevention & Safety Training Materials!

Our training products on "Fire Prevention" look at how fires start, review steps that can be taken to help prevent fires and discuss what employees should do in case of a fire emergency. Topics covered in these products include:

  • Common causes of fires.
  • Preventing fires.
  • The concept of "flashpoint".
  • "Classes" of fires.
  • Fire extinguishers.
  • Handling flammable materials.
  • Evacuation and other employee responsibilities.
  • First aid.
  • and more.

Learn about Fire Prevention, Fire Suppression and Fire Extinguisher use. Get a Quote for a Class:
Fire Extinguishers and/or Fire Prevention Live Instruction Training Courses at YOUR Location

Leave a Reply

Back to top