Scientifically speaking, fire is defined as the quick oxidation of a material in the process of combustion. In this process, heat, light and several reaction products are released. The visible portion of the fire is called the flame. Fire is typically caused by carelessness, accidents and faulty electrical equipment, although most fires are generally preventable. It causes properties and other possessions to burn to ashes. Statistics show that in Canada alone, an estimated 20,000 houses burn each year, with 300 deaths and property damage amounting to more than $500 million.
Causes of Fire
The main causes of fire are carelessness and accidents, electrical equipment, fire lighting material or smoking.
Carelessness and Accidents
- Inattentiveness while cooking
- Placing items near the stove
- Lack of attention when using candles
- Gas, propane, and solvents accidents
- Lack of care or bad judgment due to use of illegal or prescription drugs and/ or alcohol intoxication
- Loose wire connections
- Short circuit
- Overloaded fuses and systems
- Inadequate use of extension cords
Fire Lighting Material or Smoking
- Cigarette smoking, especially when left not extinguished properly
- Children playing with lighters or matches
What to Do In Cases of Fire
The most important thing to do in cases of fire is to stay calm. Panicking will only worsen the situation. In every situation, the primary priority is to get out safely. Call the local emergency number or fire department to report the emergency once clear of the building and in a safe location. In cases of fire:
- If the fire alarm is sounding, leave the building immediately, even if one does not see flames or smell the smoke.
- If the door handles are warm, do not open them. Look for alternatives to exit the room. If there is no other way out, signal for help.
- Close all doors behind where one is located.
- If there is smoke, stay low. Air is cleaner and cooler.
- Never use elevators, instead use the closest exit or stairway.
- Pull the alarm if it is on the way out.
- Do not go back inside a burning structure.
- If one’s clothes are on fire, stop, drop and roll.
- If there are burns, apply appropriate first aid. To learn how to apply first aid on burns, enroll in First Aid Courses.
There are several ways to prevent fire. Although these tips do not guarantee total fire prevention, these tips can help lessen chances of a fire starting.
- Have at least one working smoke alarm at home.
- To prevent electrical fires, do not overload circuits or extension cords at all times. Avoid placing cords and wires under rugs
- Unplug and do not use appliances that cause sparks or emit unusual odor.
- When not in use, unplug appliances.
- Follow manufacturer’s safety precautions that are given with appliances.
Fire usually begins as an accident that causes property and possessions to burn. With millions of dollars’ worth of damages, all safety measures should be taken to prevent fire.