Easy Pre-construction fire preventive measure with interesting fire fighting techniques

Fire outbreaks may be common, but they’re also preventable. Unfortunately, most people don’t know how. Some are scared to try, while others who’re brave enough often use the wrong techniques. Knowing what causes a fire is important to learn how to prevent it.

According to the fire and rescue statistics from 2016/17, misusing equipment or appliances is one of the four most common causes of fire in construction sites.

Others were:

  • faulty appliances and leads,
  • faulty fuel supply, and
  • placing articles too close to the heat.

 

What can you do to prevent a fire outbreak? Experts at APPE Corp. advise that people should maintain safe practices to prevent fire from starting. But what are these safe practices you should maintain?

In this article, we will explain these safe preventive practices and some fire fighting techniques and procedures. Let’s dive into it!

 

1. Maintain a clean work Area

Preventing fire outbreaks starts with keeping a clean and tidy workspace. Store all indoor items properly. If you’re going to stack combustible items, don’t exceed a height of 20feet.

Clear any material on the job site so that they do not block any exits in case of a fire. In the event of a fire, stay far away from heating units and lighting systems; and never have an open flame on site.

When using a heater during cold months, make sure to store and keep them away from combustible materials and things that burn easily.

Lastly, always inspect your work area and clear out anything like weeds and bushes that can add more strength to the fire. If you’re unable to do this, hire a safety inspector instead.

 

2. Take extra care when carrying out hot work / Welding

Before welding or performing any kind of hot work, remove anything that can cause a fire. Start by looking around for any combustible materials and clear them out immediately. Still, to ensure a safe operation, have firefighting equipment nearby.

Assign a fire watch to guard against fire while welding. This person should be properly trained on how to use firefighting equipment, particularly fire extinguishers. They should carry a fire extinguisher when hot work is ongoing. In addition, the fire watch must have a keen eye for details like where the fire alarm is and how to operate it.

 

3. Store flammable gases and liquid

Gases fires are very common, especially in construction sites that contain flammable substances like crude oil and liquefied gases. These fires are very difficult to control, they spread quickly and can cause serious bodily harm. However, you can still prevent them. Here’s how:

Get to know the safety information for every flammable liquid on the construction site. You’ll find this in the material safety data sheet (MSDS) that comes with such products. Take your time to read and understand what’s contained in the sheet. You will need them when a fire accident occurs or when trying to prevent one.

Make sure all hazardous materials are stored properly, according to your local safety requirements or based on Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements.

Control switches are likely to get damaged at some point during a work operation. Sparks can fly out of them too, and if there are flammable gases or liquid nearby, an explosion may occur. Avoid this by keeping switches and other ignition sources far away from flammable liquids and gases.

Gas explosions are devastating, but the scalding from them is far worse. Likewise chemical burns. Both often lead to complications like limb loss, muscle and tissue damage and nightmares. The best way to reduce the effect of gas and chemical burns on the skin is by wearing personal protective equipment like safety boots, gloves (when handling corrosive chemicals), and overalls.

 

4. Maintain and handle Equipments and Machines

Equipment that often causes fires in construction sites are usually welding or hot work machines. Some of these machines contain moving parts that heat up quickly during and after use. The friction between these moving parts can cause an internal spark which can lead to a fire accident.

Moreover, furnaces that aren’t properly installed, operated or maintained can also pose fire hazards. To ensure that none of these equipment threaten your safety or that of others on-site, make sure they are cleaned, maintained and lubricated properly. Adding to this, anyone using these equipment must know how to handle them well.

That said, they must also learn how to clean and maintain them after use.

 

5. Pay attention to possible electrical hazards

Do you know electrical fires are among the top five causes of fires in manufacturing plants? These fires are often caused by naked or exposed wires, overloaded outlets, overloaded circuits, including extension cords. A complicated wiring system makes detecting electrical fires difficult and the damage is often massive. Below are simple steps you can take to prevent them on construction sites:

  • Don’t overload electrical equipment or circuits.
  • When equipment is not in use, unplug it.
  • Avoid using extension cords.

When cleaning combustible dust and removing hazardous materials around heating or electrical equipment, follow a regular housekeeping plan.

Before construction, design a reporting system on-site so that anyone who detects an electrical fire risk can report it quickly without consequences.

 

 

FIGHTING TECHNIQUES AND PROCEDURES

Before you can put out a fire, you need to know what makes it burn and the location of the fire itself. There are several recognised techniques for tackling a fire —whether at home or in the workplace. We’re going to discuss five of them.

 

1. Fog Attack

The fog attack technique is ideal for closed compartment fires where there is no wind to give the fire strength. Not only is this technique widely used by firefighters but also it’s very effective. The deal here is to use the fog nozzle of the hose instead of a jet to kill the fire.

Unfortunately, you can’t use this method in ventilated areas because it will reduce its effectiveness. It is better suited for non-ventilated spaces.

 

2. Indirect Attack

In this technique, you’ll be aiming at the ceiling. The goal here is to extinguish the fire from above by targeting the ceiling.

Like the fog attack, this method is ideal for closed compartment fires like high rise environments, and it has a two-way impact.

When you aim at the ceiling (if it’s hot), the vapour absorbs the cool temperature of the water. This process cools off the heat in the ceiling. Then the rest of the vapour (now turned water) falls like rain, which helps extinguish the fire below.

 

3. Direct Attack

This is perhaps the most widely known firefighting technique. In this technique, you directly aim a stream of water at the base of the fire. This method works best with a concentrated and powerful jet of water. However, for it to be effective, firefighters must be able to see the fire.

In non-vented areas (areas with little air), this technique extinguishes fire faster.

 

4. Combination Attack

Here, two fighting methods are used—direct and indirect attacks. The combination attack is effective for combating overhead fires and flames simultaneously.

With the indirect attack, you can combat fires from above, while using the direct attack to attack flames below.

 

5. Two lines in Method

This method is ideal for fires in windy areas. In this method, two teams are required. Each team has two persons and operates different hoses. One team operates a low pressure/high fog nozzle, while the other two use a nozzle with a steady, concentrated stream of water. One team focuses on putting out the flames, while the other tries to stop the fire from spreading.

The Two Lines In method is effective for fighting fires as long as both teams work together.

 

SOURCES / REFERENCES

https://www.cityfire.co.uk/news/fire-fighting-techniques/

https://www.travelers.com/resources/business-industries/construction/protecting-against-common-fire-risks-during-construction

https://www.haspod.com/blog/fire/fire-prevention-tips-construction-sites