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What is fire?

What Is Fire? In very simple terms, fire is a chemical chain reaction in which oxygen is combined with fuel in the presence of heat. This rapid oxidation produces heat and light (flames).

Fire can usually take place only when three critical elements are present. These are:

1. Oxygen

Oxygen is usually readily available as it makes up 21% of the air we breathe.

2. Fuel

Fuel can be solid combustibles like paper, furniture, clothing, wood and plastics. It can also be flammable liquids (like petrol, kerosene, paints, solvents and cooking oils or fats), flammable gases (like natural gas, LPG or acetylene) and sometimes it can be metal.

3. Heat

Heat is required to produce ignition and then the heat given off by the oxidation reaction sustains the fire once the process has begun.

Heat sources that can start a fire can include:

• heating and cooking appliances

• faulty electrical equipment

• cigarettes, lighters and matches

• friction

When these three elements combine in a rapid oxidation process a chemical chain reaction ensues. This chemical chain reaction is also a necessary component of fire and becomes the fourth element of fire.

Note that, even if the fuel is a solid (e.g. wood) or a liquid (e.g. petrol) it is the vapours given off when the fuel is heated that burn.

Portable fire extinguishers, fire blankets and water provide quick and efficient methods of controlling a
small fire (i.e. a fire no larger than a waste paper basket).


Find detailed information about the different types of fire fighting equipment Dandy Solutions stocks

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