Fire Triangle – What is it?

Fire Triangle – What is it?

The Fire Triangle was designed to offer a simple way to understand and remember how it starts, feeds, and grows. It is an essential part of understanding why fire safety is so important too.

It also shows how to keep the risk to a minimum. As any triangle would suggest, there are three parts or elements, all of which must be present for fire to start.

The three different elements that create combustion are Oxygen, Fuel, and Heat. Understanding the relationship between these three is the first step in learning to effectively deal with an outbreak.

Fire extinguishers will generally act on one of the three elements, for example, removing that element from the triangle, and effectively removing a required element for fire.

As simply as it can be put, Oxygen (e.g. the air we breathe) will react with the fuel (a flammable material) to create heat (and fire). The chain reaction created between the oxygen and the fuel will create enough heat eventually to ignite in fire – every fuel source has its own flashpoint (temperature at which it ignites) and so how quickly a fire starts will vary between fuel types.

Fire Triangle Learning

As can be seen, the fire triangle is comprised of three elements. Oxygen, which is the catalyst, is hardest to remove, as it is so abundant, and in fact, we need it to breathe.

Generally, from a fire fighting perspective, oxygen removal is only considered in very specific circumstances, such as in contained rooms where there is minimal risk of harm to a person. Typically, this would be in a fixed extinguishing or suppression system in a server room, or vault, for example.

However, portable fire extinguishers will also be used to minimise oxygen flow, although for the most part, their primary use is to reduce the heat present, thus depriving the heat element of the fire triangle. Portable fire extinguishers have the limitation in that they are useful only in very small, focused areas.

They should only ever be used for two reasons – to tackle very small fires (if the user is competent to do so), and as a defence when encountering fire obstruction along a fire exit – care should ALWAYS be taken however to use the correct fire extinguisher type as using the wrong one could result in harm, or an increase in the fire.

We always recommend staff are given required Fire Safety Training in line with legislation, at least once per year.

Fire Triangle Training

Legislation provides that new staff must be trained in respect of fire safety within three months of joining a company.

This training must be refreshed for all staff annually. Good training, such as that provided by AFSS Ltd, will highlight the above with real world examples, will explain the use of extinguishers, and how to operate them correctly and safely, and will reinforce housekeeping, minimising the risk of fire at all.

Delivered in groups of up to eight, the training session lasts a couple of hours, and is tested and certificated. You’ll have evidence of training provided, and staff who will both reduce the risk, and ultimately, be informed about how to tackle fire should it ever happen. They’ll know all about the triangle too.

Fire Safety Training and Fire Risk Assessment can both be integrated into the cost of an AFSS 360 Maintenance Plan too.

Contact us at AFSS Ltd today about the fire triangle and fire safety training.


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