Total ‘Gaz’tronomical effort

Education on fighting fires is important and that is why fire drills are important to host on a regular basis.

POLOKWANE – The local Fire Department unknowingly participated in a planned fire drill by Total Gaz in Ladine earlier this morning.

Total Gaz held their monthly fire drill today (Tuesday) in which a scenario was staged. The company called the department in which their response time and capabilities were tested.

Depot manager Cammon Mathebula told Review that doing a fire drill is of utmost importance especially in a business like theirs.

“We need to know that when a fire breaks out that we are set and to know that we have the backup needed in an emergency,” he told Review.

When it comes to fighting a fire, it is important that people understand the difference between the different fires and the equipment uses to stop them.

Local fire extinguisher trainer, Conraad Nel spoke to Review on the different types of fire and why it is important to know what to use when.

 

  • Class A fires – are fires involving organic solids like paper, wood, etc.
  • Class B fires – are fires involving flammable liquids and gasses.
  • Class C fires – are fires involving flammable electricity

 

He said that using the right equipment can mean the rescue or destruction of a building and even the loss of a life.
“Some components, like water for instance, can create more danger and spread the fire instead of helping to kill the fire. Therefore basic firefighting should be known in and around a business. This will help in the case of an emergency and possibly save lives,” he said.

Fire extinguishers are divided into:

Photo: Sourced

Water and Foam
Water and Foam fire extinguishers extinguish the fire by taking away the heat element of the fire triangle. Foam agents also separate the oxygen element from the other elements.
Water extinguishers are for Class A fires only – they should not be used on Class B or C fires. The discharge stream could spread the flammable liquid in a Class B fire or could create a shock hazard on a Class C fire.

Carbon Dioxide
Carbon Dioxide fire extinguishers extinguish fire by taking away the oxygen element of the fire triangle and also be removing the heat with a very cold discharge.
Carbon dioxide can be used on Class B & C fires. They are usually ineffective on Class A fires.

Dry Chemical
Dry Chemical fire extinguishers extinguish the fire primarily by interrupting the chemical reaction of the fire triangle.
Today’s most widely used fire extinguisher is the multipurpose dry chemical which is effective on Class A, B, and C fires. This agent also works by creating a barrier between the oxygen element and the fuel element on Class A fires. Ordinary dry chemical is for Class B & C fires only. It is important to use the correct extinguisher for the type of fuel. “Using the incorrect agent can allow the fire to re-ignite after apparently being extinguished successfully,” he said.

Wet Chemical
Wet Chemical is a new agent that extinguishes the fire by removing the heat of the fire triangle and prevents re-ignition by creating a barrier between the oxygen and fuel elements.
Wet chemical of Class K extinguishers were developed for modern, high efficiency deep fat fryers in commercial cooking operations. Some may also be used on Class A fires in commercial kitchens.

Clean Agent
Halogenated or Clean Agent extinguishers include the halon agents as well as the newer and less ozone depleting halocarbon agents. They extinguish the fire by interrupting the chemical reaction of the fire triangle.
Clean agent extinguishers are primarily for Class B & C fires. Some larger clean agent extinguishers can be used on Class A, B, and C fires.

Dry Powder
Dry Powder extinguishers are similar to dry chemical except that they extinguish the fire by separating the fuel from the oxygen element or by removing the heat element of the fire triangle.
However, dry powder extinguishers are for Class D or combustible metal fires, only. They are ineffective on all other classes of fires.

Water Mist
Water Mist extinguishers are a recent development that extinguish the fire by taking away the heat element of the fire triangle. They are an alternative to the clean agent extinguishers where contamination is a concern.
Water mist extinguishers are primarily for Class A fires, although they are safe for use on Class C fires as well.

Cartridge Operated Dry Chemical
Cartridge Operated Dry Chemical fire extinguishers extinguish the fire primarily by interrupting the chemical reaction of the fire triangle.
Like the stored pressure dry chemical extinguishers, the multipurpose dry chemical is effective on Class A, B, and C fires. This agent also works by creating a barrier between the oxygen element and the fuel element on Class A fires.

“When there is a fire people panic, having at least one person who knows what to do will assist in successful firefighting when it is most needed, “Nel said.
riana@nmgroup.co.za

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  AUTHOR
Riana Joubert
Journalist

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