• Vital knowledge of how to save lives in case of a fire

    19 December 2019
  • Vad ska man göra om det börjar brinna - Hur släcker man en brand
  • Fires causes great damage to people and property every day. We therefore want to give you some of our most valuable tips on how to minimize the risks of a fire arising by having well-functioning fire protection. But we will also hand out tips in how to think and act in case a fire starts in your home or at the workplace. We have chosen to split the tips and knowledge into a 2-part article series.

    Part 1: Equipment you should have to prevent fires and fire damage.

    Part 2: (This article) Well-needed knowledge to be able to prevent & handle fires in buildings.

    In order for a fire to occur, 3 things are required:

    1. Oxygen,
    2. Heat,
    3. Flammable material

    These 3 factors are often referred to as the Fire Triangle and form the basis for all fire protection. Each part of the fire triangle is a prerequisite for a fire to occur, and to allow an existing fire to continue to burn. This means that as soon as we have removed one or more parts of the fire triangle, a fire can neither arise nor continue.

    What to do if a fire has started in your home or at the workplace?

    First and foremost, remember the order of priority:

    1. Save lives, including your own
      1. You will not be able to save anyone if you collapse because of heat or inhaling smoke.
    2. Alert people in the proximity
      1. Make sure all persons in the proximity of the fire know that a fire has started.
    3. Alert the authorities
      1. Call SOS alarm by dialing 112, or the emergency number in your region. (Lägg till länk)
    4. Extinguish the fire, if possible.
      1. If you assess the situation as safe: Extinguish the fire or limit it´s spread until the fire department arrives.

    How do we prevent fires & damage caused by fire?

    Eftersom vi nu vet att syre, värme & brännbart material utgör grunden för alla bränder ska ert systematiska brandskyddsarbete se till att minst en faktor alltid är borttagen. Det här kan låta enklare än det är, så för att göra tipsen handfasta och lättbegripliga har vi valt att använda 4 exempel på vanliga bränder.

    Example 1: A fire started in a pan filled with cooking oil. The fire occurred when you were making popcorn

    Oxygen: Surrounding air – Heating: The hot stove – Flammable material: The oil in the pan.

    How do we prevent a fire? Never leave the stove unattended to allow the heat to become so strong that the oil can ignite. A Stove guard can help to prevent these kinds of fires.

    How to extinguish an oil-fire in a pan? By covering the pan from the heated stove and covering it with a fire blanket, then you will be removing both the oxygen and the heat source. If the fire already has grown too big for you to be able to remove the pan, use a dry-powder extinguisher or potassium-based fire extinguisher to remove the oxygen from the fire.

    What never to do in case of an oil-based fire? Never try to extinguish the fire by putting water on it. If you pour water on an oil or grease fire, the fire will escalate very quickly!

    Example 2: Fire at a radiator that have occurred when someone has left wet clothing to dry overnight.

    Oxygen: Ambient air – Heating: Radiator – Flammable material: The dried clothes.

    How do we prevent a fire? Make sure that no combustible material is in direct contact with the heat source element. Do not store cartons against the element, keep dust away & do not dry clothes on a hot element since they will become flammable material when dried.

    How to extinguish an existing fire? Remove one or more parts of the fire triangle – Move the clothes (flammable material) the element (Source of heat) or suffocate the fire with a fire extinguisher or fire blanket.

    What should I do if the fire has grown too big to extinguish? As long as you do not expose yourself or others to unnecessary danger by trying to extinguish the fire, it may still be worth a try. Even if the fire is too large to extinguish you can with your fire extinguisher limit the spread of the fire allowing the fire department to rescue as much as possible.

    Example 3: Fire in electronics that occurred when someone charged a phone that was lying in bed overnight.

    Oxygen: Ambient air – Heating: The electronic equipment – Flammable material: The bed.

    How do we prevent a fire? Never buy electrical equipment that is not CE marked. Only charge your phone, tablet, and other electronic equipment when you are awake and have the object in sight.

    How to extinguish the fire? Remove any part of the fire triangle. If the fire is detected at an early stage, it may be enough to pull the cord out of the wall to remove the heat source. Otherwise, Suffocate the fire using a fire extinguisher or a fire blanket.

    How to act if the fire gets too big? As long as you do not expose yourself or others to unnecessary danger by trying to extinguish the fire, it may still be worth a try. Even if the fire is too large to extinguish you can with your fire extinguisher limit the spread of the fire allowing the fire department to rescue as much as possible.

    Example 4: A major fire has occurred in an apartment on the ground floor. The fire has now filled the entire stairwell with smoke.

    Oxygen: Surrounding air – Heating: Unknown – Flammable material: Unknown.

    How can I prevent a fire? Make sure that you do not place combustible materials or objects in stairways that can make it more difficult to evacuate or rescue using the staircase. Help each other to remember always keeping fire doors closed & and make sure all tenants know what they can do to prevent fires. An evacuation exercise or a fire safety training can save lives at a low cost.

    How to extinguish? If you find that the staircase is filled with smoke and the smoke doesn’t come from your apartment; Do not enter the staircase! It only takes a couple of breaths in a smoke-filled staircase to lose consciousness and risk dying. Instead, cover door cracks with wet towels & call 112 (Or any other local emergency number). Although there may be someone else that’s already called the emergency number, it is preferable if 1 person from your apartment also calls to let the emergency service know how many people is in the building. Then the rescue service will know that there are people in your apartment and they can give you innformation if you need to evacuate or to stay inside. Read more about what to think about during a 112 call – or what numbers to call if it is not an emergency. (Lägg till länkar)

    Why you should not open the door to a staircase filled with smoke. The apartment building is divided into several fire-cells to ensure that a fire cannot spread between the apartments or staircases. If you open your door or one of the building’s fire doors, you risk, in addition to inhaling smoke yourself, to add more oxygen to the fire and escalate the fire itself. If possible, stay in your apartment and alarm your local emergency service, they can further give you instructions on how to evacuate if necessary.

    For example, the emergency services may ask you to stay inside instead of evacuate the building. It might sound wrong to stay inside with closed doors and windows, but it is because the rescue service feel confident that the fire will not spread to other fire cells other than the ones already affected. So stay calm and be attentive to the instructions you receive from the fire department.

    Summary: How to prevent fires and fire-hazards?

    1. Make sure that buildings & equipment in the buildings meet the requirements for fire safety.
    2. Ensure that all employees / family members have adequate knowledge of fire protection, risk factors, evacuation & how to make emergency-calls.
    3. Work systematically.

    Summary: How to extinguish a fire?

    If you choose to try to put out the fire, make sure that you use the right extinguisher and in the right way. If you´re not sure which extinguisher you have, or how to use it? Practice in advance! When there is a real fire, there is no time for doubt.

    How to extinguish a fire with a fire extinguisher?

    1. Choose the right type of fire extinguisher
    2. Pull out the safety-pin, before you start moving towards the fire. If you wait until you reach the fire, you will be exposed to heat & smoke longer than necessary.
    3. Put the fire extinguisher down at a safe distance.
    4. Aim the nozzle to the base of the fire.
    5. Press down on the handle to extinguish the fire

    How to use a fire blanket?

    1. Pull the straps to remove the fire blanket from its cover
    2. Place the blanket on the fire and stroke with your hands to remove all oxygen. (If you throw the blanket on the fire, you risk adding oxygen and increasing the fire process, or spreading the flames)
    3. If the fire is too large to extinguish with the fire blanket, you can use the blanket as protection when trying to evacuate or moving closer to the fire extinguisher.
    4. If it burns in the clothes of a person: Apply the fire blanket by starting from the head and work your way down the body by brushing your hands to remove air pockets and to suffocate the fire.
    5. When you believe the fire is extinguished, gently lift the blanket from below (not from the face-area) to minimize the risk of the fire re-igniting and burning the face & respiratory tract of the person.

    What information does the alarm operator need when calling the emergency number? What happens in the background while I talk to the alarm operator & Can you practice emergency calls in advance? We answer these and many more questions in the article series about emergency calls. (Lägg till länk)

    If you would rather read about how the drive towards a fire can be experienced from the driver’s seat of a fire truck. Then you can read the article about when Claes alone drove his first time as an emergency driver, on the way towards a building on fire.  (Lägg till länk)

    Part 1 of the article series – How to create an effective fire protection?

    About Safe@Work Sweden

    Safe@Work is an educational organizer who helps organizations all over the world to create a safe & prosperous work environment. Every year, we help thousands of workers to minimize their risks through the quality education & equipment.

    Safe@Works fire safety department consists of well-experienced personnel with many years of experience as firefighters, firefighters & course leaders, both in Sweden and abroad.

    Fire Safety Training & Evacuation Exercises

    Save lives at your workplace, at home or perhaps at the children’s preschool, all through effective fire safety training & clear evacuation procedures. Under the review from some of Sweden’s most experienced educators, you will receive knowledge adapted to your specific conditions. Contact us for more information!