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Fire Prevention and Safety: Our First Line of Defense

By: Luningning E. Ruiz, Master Teacher I, Tanato Integrated School

Fire is undeniably and extraordinarily helpful in human life. It gives us light and heat and helps us to cook our foods. Nevertheless, fire can also endanger human life. It can destroy our house and can take away all of our possessions in just an hour. At worst, fire takes lives. It is capable of killing. What is fire? What are its elements and classes? How can we prevent fires to happen? What should one do if he is caught on fire?
The phase of burning or combustion is called fire. Basically, a fire has three elements mainly: fuel, heat, and oxygen. These three elements constitute the Fire Triangle. There are Five Classes of Fire – Class A fires involve ordinary combustible materials like paper, cloth, wood, rubber, and plastics, Class B fires involve flammable liquids and gases like gasoline, oil, and grease, Class C fires involve energized electrical equipment or home appliances such as refrigerators, television, and radio, Class D fires involve metals that are combustible like magnesium, sodium, and potassium, and lastly, the new classification of fire, Class K fires involves commercial cooking equipment like animal fats, cooking oils, and vegetable oils.
Yet, how one can prevent fires to happen? What are the preparations on generating a first line of defense against fire? We are aware that most fires happen because of unattended cooking equipment so we need to pay close attention while we are cooking and we should never leave the stove. After cooking, we must turn the stove off and look out for old food particles, grease, and potholders that are near to our stove as these materials can ignite and start a fire. We can also prevent fires by having a proper wiring system, avoiding octopus connection, unplugging our home appliances when not in use, and proper disposal of cigarette butts. We should never let the children in our home play with matches, candles, and oil lamps. It is also important that we should have a fire exit in our houses and make sure that we discuss it with our family members for us to know where to go in case of a fire. If ever our clothes caught fire, we should remember three things: Stop, Drop, Roll. Most people who die in fires suffer from not the burning itself, but from breathing smoke and toxic gases, making their eyes teary and choke due to the sensation. Basically, there are ways on how to save ourselves amidst a fire. First, stop or stay in place wherever you are and do not run. Second, drop or get down on the floor and cover your eyes, nose, and mouth to avoid respiratory failure caused by the smoke. Third, roll over and over, back and forth to suppress the fire and eliminate the oxygen.

Are you familiar with a fire extinguisher? A portable fire extinguisher is a piece of equipment to eliminate the fire. The HCFC 123 or the Hydro chlorofluorocarbon 123 and Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher remove heat and displace oxygen from the combustion zone. These type of fire extinguisher can efficiently eliminate Class A, B, and C fires as it has a cooling and smothering effect. On the other hand, the CO2 or Carbon Dioxide can successfully eliminate Class B and C fires only while the AFFF or Aqueous Film Forming Foam can extinguish flammable liquid fires like fuel and gas fires. The keyword “PASS” will be able to help us in remembering how we can use a fire extinguisher. First, pull the safety pin. Second, aim the nozzle at the base of the fire. Third, squeeze the lever or the trigger. Last, sweep side to side.
Being able to know about the concept of fire and how to prevent it will serve as one’s first line of defense against a fire. You and your family’s safety lies on your hands. Let us remember that fire kills, but being alert and being aware can prevent fires to damage and take lives.

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