One of mankind’s greatest inventions was creating fire. It was the first fuel that we had access to and we used it eventually to build civilizations. But fire is also devastating. It can swallow up entire buildings in a matter of minutes. Fire can cause immense destruction, taking lives, destroying property and other assets.
This is why it is imperative that we take every fire fighting precaution, including stocking up on all required fire fighting safety equipment. This is our first line of defense. Most fires are stopped due to timely warning and the immediate deployment of fire fighting equipment. This is why everyone — from individual home owners to shopkeepers, office managers and factory owners — need to understand and follow all required fire fighting guidelines.
What are some of the fire fighting equipment that we should invest in?
There are many type types of fire fighting equipment that include warning systems, protection gear as well as fire fighting tools. The most essential are:
Smoke alarms: This is a simple, but effective warning system that is found in industrial, commercial as well as residential properties. One study conducted in the US found that smoke alarms cut the chances of dying in a fire by half. Smoke alarms work on the simple mechanism of detecting smoke as an indication of fire.
In large buildings, smoke alarms are connected to a central fire fighting system, which also powers it. In domestic settings, the smoke alarms are often powered by a battery. In a large home one can have interlinked alarms that are connected to the main power unit. Smoke alarm usually emit a loud alarm when smoke is detected. It could also be connected to other fire fighting equipment.
Fire sprinkler system: This is a fire protection system where sprinklers are built into the ceiling at various points. The sprinklers are attached to pipes of a water distribution system that ensures the right pressure and flow of water. Sprinklers are triggered by heat. Water sprays from the overhead system, dousing the fire. The system activates with one head at a time, since most fires can be contained by just a couple of sprinkler heads. Once seen only in industrial or commercial buildings, sprinkler systems are becoming increasingly common in residential buildings as well.
Fire extinguisher: The most recognizable fire fighting safety equipment is the fire extinguisher. Although ineffective against a raging fire, a fire extinguisher come in handy at the initial stages, ruling out the very possibility of a raging fire! Studies show that deployment of fire extinguishers can stop a fire from going out of control.
Not all extinguishers are the same. Extinguishers are differentiated according to their component, which in turn is decided by the type of fire. The different types of fire extinguishers are: water and foam extinguishers, carbon dioxide extinguishers and powder extinguishers. When buying a fire extinguisher one must keep in mind the type of assets we are dealing with. For instance, water and foam extinguishers will be in appropriate in an office full of electronic equipment. The water and foam will end up damaging the equipment. Instead one should use the CO2 or powder extinguisher.
Fire fighting gear: Although not necessary for all buildings, fire fighting gear can be critical when fighting fire. This is the gear that firefighters usually carry. This includes helmets, boots, clothes and gloves. These are made of extremely durable material like PVC and rubber. Helmets and boots are designed to cover the firefighter while making their job easier on site.
Some of this gear has additional features. For instance, some helmets also carry communication systems, camera and light. But their main function is protection. The boots protect feet from debris and slippage at a fire site while the helmet protects the head, face and neck from dangerous draft and falling objects. Similarly, the gloves protect the hands and also give it insulation from the red objects at a fire site.
Other fire safety gear includes shovel, axe, ash bucket and fire blanket. The first two are used to open up windows or doors that get stuck due to the heat, while the other two can be used to douse fire.
Fire can be devastating, taking up lives and destroying property. But with a few precautions we can minimize its danger. This begins with ensuring that you are equipped with the required fire fighting safety equipment.