The Fire Triangle

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In order for fire to establish, it needs three things. Oxygen, heat and fuel. These three elements are called the fire triangle.

The first one of these elements is oxygen. Oxygen is in the air we breathe, but it can also come from other sources. It could come from something such as fertiliser, that has an oxidising agent which actually creates oxygen when it burns. Some bleaches and chemicals can create oxygen, but another way of introducing more oxygen to a fire will be through ventilation, from opening a fire door or a window or having any air coming through from any source.

The second component of the fire triangle is heat, this can come from different sources, maybe from sunlight, maybe you are in the kitchen and you are cooking, it can also come from electric heaters, gas heaters, arson or electrical wiring.

The final element is fuel. This can be paper, chemicals, gas, wood or any component which is flammable.

If we remove any one of these 3 elements from the fire triangle, fire cannot establish.

Fires can be caused by many things. One of these is arson, this is where someone would purposely light a fire in order to cause damage. Another thing could be electrical fires, maybe unsafe electrical equipment or where it has damage to the insulation. This can cause a fire as well as overloaded electrics.

Chemical reactions can cause problems and when you mix two chemicals together and they catch fire. Smoking can cause fires, maybe a discarded cigarette or match.

Finally, poor housekeeping. It is very important to make sure all policies and procedures are followed, that rubbish is not left near fire exits or fire doors, bins are emptied regularly.

By reducing the hazards you can help reduce the risk of fire in the workplace.