Types of Fires and Fire Safety 12, March, 2021 LSFD Public Affairs Consultant Krista Jacqueline Page, Ph.D.
There have been over 10 Structural Fires around Los Santos in the past three months, not calculating Oil, Dumpster, and Vehicle fires together. All of those 10 structural fire calls and reports have been under different weather and environmental circumstances. But how can we recognize different types of fires, how do we report them so Firefighters know how to respond and with which unit, and mainly, how do individuals protect themselves if they get stuck in a structural fire?
The Public Relations Division recently got together with Firefighter III. Katelyn McLeod to talk about different fire responses, past calls, how to prevent fire, how to defend yourself if you get stuck in sticky situations, and more.
Information section for Fire Safety, Tips, and more:Q1: What types of fires are there and what is the difference between them?
A1: There are different types and categorizations.
Category A: Usually material ignited is either wood, plastic, paper, and cloth. Category B: Usually flammable liquids or gases and that includes all volatiles, like gasoline, kerosene, propane, butane, oils, and alcohols. Category C: Usually electrical fire, and it does not mean that electricity necessarily burns. Short circuit sparks, blown fuses, and conductors start to melt, causing a fire. Category D: Usually fires like Metals. Their characteristics are that they burn at really high temperatures. Not really common in households. Category K: Usually is marked for cooking oils and greases.
Q2: How can you prevent fires from happening?
A2: Everything depends on the environment. The main way to avoid a fire is to keep the heat sources away from combustible materials.
Q3: What is the best way to protect yourself if you get stuck in a structural fire?
A3: You need to buy yourself time. It is hard but in that situation, you have to clear up your mind and think straight. Think of an alternative exit or an easy-access point where firefighters could get you. Go away from the fire room, but do not trap yourself in a locker. For example; the fire is in the kitchen downstairs, and you can't exit the building. Run towards the back bedroom that has a window. The second thing to buy yourself some time is to slow down the fire. If you see the fire is getting out of control, do not waste your time trying to throw a pot of water on it. Close all the doors behind you. This sounds contradictory, but it slows down the fire. Find a bottle of water and a cloth and pour the water on the cloth to then wrap around your face. It will act like a "home-made air filter", this was it will stop all the ash going to your lungs. You should also place a shirt or a blouse under your door to stop the smoke from coming into your safe-room. And finally, let everyone know you are there. Yell, scream, make loud noises.
Q4: Which Fire Extinguisher should you use for different fires?
A4: Class A: Most common to use is Water and Foam. Class A is not that restrictive on what type of extinguishing agent you can use. Class B: It is recommended to use a Foam or Carbon Dioxide Extinguisher. You should not put water on gasoline, that is not going to work. Class C: It is even more restrictive because you can not use foam or water, due to the obvious reason, electrocution. Dry Chemical, a.k.a Powder or Carbon Dioxide extinguishers are used. Class D: Same as in Class C, you should only use Dry Chemical Extinguishers. Class K: There is a specific type of Wet Chemical, a composite of Potassium.
Q5: What do you do when there is an oil fire? A5: Do not put the oil in the sink and rinse with water! It is where most people screw up. Hot burning oil mixed with water creates a chemical reaction that creates a small explosion. So instead of extinguishing it, you will blast yourself in the face with burning hot oil, and you will not only get burnt but most likely die. What you should do is, first turn the stove off and find the thickest towels you have, and put them on top of the assumed pan, covering all the fire surface. The fire will quickly absorb all the oxygen and the fire will be put out.
Q6: Which units do usually respond to Oil Fires? A6: It depends on the development and the stage of the fire, but most commonly, an Engine unit and a ladder - Quint Unit.
Q7: Which units usually respond to Vehicle Fires? A7: It depends if there are any entrapments. Mainly, however, an Engine Company or two should be sufficient along with Medical Units.
Q8: Which units usually respond to House Fires? A8: It is necessary to know the information of the call better. But usually an Engine, Ladder Truck, and possibly a Rescue Squad along with Medical Units.
Los Santos County Lifeguard #49041
Public Relations / Flight Crew / Volunteer Firefighter Currently on LOA till 20/06/2021