Property & Pecuniary Insurance Chapter – 2 BILAL RIAZ
Sufficient Fuel. 2. Sufficient Heat. a spark or a flame and if we wish to extinguish a fire or prevent a fire from starting then we should consider the three main features which are required for a fire to start or be sustained: 1. Sufficient Oxygen. These three factors are referred to as the “Triangle of Combustion” or “Fire Triangle”.• Fire Fire or Combustion is an exothermic chemical reaction involving the combination of a fuel with oxygen and involving the generation of heat and light i. – The fire is always initiated by energy in the form of heat. 3. flames.e.
A fire may therefore be extinguished by the removal of the heat which is necessary to sustain it. conduction (conveying through living tissues) and convection (conveying through fluid in circular motion) of heat from adjoining or adjacent parts of the substance which are themselves on fire. – For this reason fuel oil supplies to oil fired space heaters in industrial premises should always be fitted with fire valves close to the point where the fuel supply enters the building. asbestos (fire proof insulating (isolating) materials) blankets or other noncombustible materials so that air is excluded. Supplies of flammable liquids should be kept outside the main premises and only sufficient for one day’s work brought into the premises. Once combustion has commenced the maintenance of the required temperature results primarily from the exothermic nature of the reaction but also in part from the radiation (emitting energy). special dry powders. • Advantages of water as fire extinguishing agent: 1. and this temperature must be maintained if the fire is to continue. 2. It is inexpensive. 3.• Fuel: In a fire situation it may be possible to remove fuel from the fire area or turn off the supply of the fuel if it is gas or liquid. and this is commonly achieved by the application of water. Fire • Oxygen: Most methods of fire extinguishments involve restricting the supply of oxygen in some way. It is normally readily available. Fire • Heat: A combustible substance must be raised to a certain temperature before it will ignite. Bulk supplies should be kept in a separate risk.
. It has a high capacity for absorbing heat. this can be achieved by smothering (kill by depriving of air) the fire with sand.
• Fire Extinguishing Agents • Numerous alternative fire extinguishing media have been introduced for specific purposes but the application of a sufficient quantity of water to the seat of a fire still remains. In the form in which it is readily available it is a conductor of electricity and cannot therefore be used where electrical equipment is present. The principle of smothering the fire by cutting off the supply of oxygen or air is the basis of almost all other forms of extinguishments. Most goods. It can be used for the extinction of fires involving flammable liquids which can be mixed with it since with sufficient water the flammable liquid will be so diluted as to be no longer flammable. 2. There are however systems whereby water is projected in the form of high pressure jets on the surface of lighter non-miscible flammable liquids such as oils converting the surface layers into oil/water emulsions (mixture) which are non-flammable. the incidental water damage may be considerable..e.
. Hence. It cannot be used in the normal way for fires involving liquids which lighter (i. for they would float. although a fire may be extinguished. the most effective method of extinguishments. 3. lower density) than water and are not miscible (capable of being mixed) with it. When it is in contact with heat of the fire it is converted into steam and this steam has the effect of diluting the oxygen content thus helping to smother the fire. still burning. 5. in the majority of circumstances. • Disadvantages of water as fire extinguishing agent: 1.4. on the surface of the water and thus spread the fire. materials and property are susceptible to damage by water.
normally carbonaceous fires. Class D fires – those involving metals.g. being non-combustible. wood. water is a suitable extinguishing agent. e. oils. Class C fires – those involving gases. – Dry sand.g. usually extinguished by smothering e. Its disadvantage is its weight per unit volume which prevents its use except in small quantities for small fires. • Fire Extinguishing Agent
. 4. greases and fats. Class A fires – those involving solid materials. Class B fires – those involving liquids or liquefiable solids e. Fires where electrical equipment is involved are best extinguished with dry powder or inert gas. or D but particularly those involving spilt oils or other flammable liquids since it will not only smother the fire and prevent the access of air but will also tend to soak up the burning liquid thus preventing it from flowing and spreading the fire. petrol. For those the fire is extinguished by blanketing or smothering e. 3. finely divided and friable or free running is of value in extinguishing small fires in Class A. usually of an organic nature in which combustion takes place with the formation of glowing embers. 2. with foam. with dry powder. plastics. • Fire Extinguishing Agent • A separate class is used for fires involving electrical equipment.g. fires in paper. fire authorities divide fires into the following classifications: 1. B. Here a fire is fought by removing the source of gas.• Fire Extinguishing Agents • For the purpose of determining the most desirable and effective type of extinguishing agent. For these.g.
non-abrasive (Irritating) and water repellent. certain gases break down when applied to fire and form “free radicals” (a group of atoms bonded together that is considered an entity in various kinds of reactions). – The constituents of the powder vary with the manufacturer but commonly include sodium bicarbonate although a variety of other substances such as talc. Non – combustible gases and vapours which are not dissociated (i. They are denser than the constituents of air and many rely on the displacement of air for their extinguishing action. non-corrosive (Chemical Itching). Process of combustion involves the formation of “free radicals”and the “free radicals”from the extinguishing agent are believed to combine with those taking part in the combustion reaction and so stop the combustion reaction chemically. Whatever the constituents the resultant powder is finely divided.• Dry powder extinguishers operate on the same principle as dry sand but are both more convenient and more effective in dealing with Class B fires and those involving electrical apparatus. broken down) into flammable constituents (agents) under the influence of heat are commonly used as fire extinguishing agents. non-conducting. 1.e. However.. or in the larger types in a separate pressurised cylinder generally controlled by a screw-down valve. generally carbon dioxide (Co2). non-toxic. slate dust or powdered graphite may be incorporated. It is ejected by an inert compressed gas. • Fire Extinguishing Agent
. • Fire Extinguishing Agent • Gases and vapours as extinguishing agents: 1. which in the case of small hand-operated extinguishers is contained in an in-built pressurised bulb operated by striking a knob.
greases. – Hose Reels.• Foam Extinguishers: 1. spirits. Its effectiveness depends on the method and speed of its application to the fire. It is a smothering agent which acts by creating a foam blanket over the burning liquid thus segregating its surface from contact with the air. (50 hr instruction and training). – External Fire Hydrant Systems. • Fire Extinguishing Agent • Application of water: 1. 2. Foam is suitable for attacking Class B fires involving oils. Discounts are allowed by fire insurers for the following: – Private Fire Brigades. – High Expansion Foams are used for specially alcohol and other chemicals which decompose ordinary foams. fats. solvents and other flammable liquids which cannot be extinguished in the ordinary way by the use of water. Water can not be used on all fires and these points are considered by insurers when allowing discounts off the fire premiums to reflect the presence of various types of extinguishing appliances and agents which may be employed to fight fires. petrol. – Mobile Fire Pumps. alcohols.
. glutinous (quality of glue) mass of fine bubbles with a low density and which therefore floats on the surface of the burning oil or spirit. The foam is generally produced by adding to an aqueous solution a chemical compound which results in the generation of a foamy.
– Extra High Hazard – high piled storage. • Sprinklers • Sprinkler systems are individually designed to suit the layout and conditions of the premises to be protected but the standard systems are following:
. Extra Light Hazard. Ordinary Hazard. 3. The flow of water through the pipe work causes a small water turbine to operate and sound an alarm. Extra High Hazard. A system of pipe work fitted with sprinkler heads at fixed and regulated intervals is installed throughout the building to be protected and is connected to a source of water under pressure.– Portable Fire Extinguishers. – Its efficiency is dependent primarily on the reliability and capacity of its water supply. The heads are so constructed that the heat from a fire will cause any one of them to open at a pre-determined temperature thus permitting water to flow from the pipe and be discharged automatically in a controlled fashion to the seat of the fire. 2. • Sprinklers • Sprinklers depends upon the occupancy of premises to be protected and occupancies are placed in the following categories: 1. • Sprinklers • The essential feature of a sprinkler installation is that it operates automatically at the scene of a fire and simultaneously activates an alarm to alert personnel that it has so operated.
but when a sprinkler head is opened. When the temperature rises the liquid
. • Sprinklers – Pre-action System: A sprinkler system in which the sprinkler heads are normally closed so that both the sprinkler heads and the detection component of a pre-action system must operate before any water is released. Deluge System: A sprinkler system in which all the heads remain permanently open and water is allowed into the system by a deluge valve.1. a valve also opens to fill the system with water and is then discharged through the open sprinkler head. – Glass built sprinklers where the valve is held closed by a glass bulb containing a liquid. When the solder melts the pieces of metals fall apart and the head opens. • Sprinklers • Sprinklers heads can be divided into two groups by their method of operation: – Fusible strut (stopper) or link where the valve is held closed by pieces of metal which are held together by a special solder (tin or lead joint) which melts at a predetermined temperature. Dry – Pipe System: A water – based sprinkler system in which the piping is initially filled with pressurized air. – Water Spry System: A sprinkler system in which directional nozzles can be either open or closed and are specifically designed for the configuration of the space being protected and hazards in that space. 3. Wet Pipe System: A water – based sprinkler system in which the piping is full of water and immediately discharges water when the sprinkler head opens. which in turn is activated by a separate detection system. 2.
Red – 68 degree C. The heads. 3. Green – 93 degree C. Black – 201/260 degree C. Blue – 141 degree C. 6. also referred to as projectors. – The way in which these heads are installed depends on the type of oil or spirit concerned. 1. This emulsifies and cools the surface of the oil and leads to almost immediate extinction. 7. 5. Mauve (Purple) – 182 degree C. • Sprinklers • Special Sprinklers for oil fires: In situations where oil and flammable liquids are stored or used in such a manner that the value of standard sprinklers is open to question special purpose sprayers may be used.expands and at a predetermined temperature the bulb shatters allowing water out of the sprinkler head. These heads discharge water at high pressure in the shape of a cone and consisting of small drops of water travelling at high speed. are known as high velocity sprayers. 4. and the layout of the risk. • Sprinklers
. • Sprinklers – The liquid is coloured to denote its operating temperature as follows: 1. 2. Yellow – 79 degree C. Orange – 57 degree C.
.e. thus relying on the fire brigade or other persons attending to open the main stop valve.
. with the outlet unsealed and a water supply controlled manually. – A drencher installation consists of a series of pipes fitted to the outside of a building.• Drenchers: The function of the sprinkler installation is to protect premises from a fire that originates inside a building but it offers little protection against exposure from external fires. It is for protection against this latter hazard that drenchers are installed. 1. • Sprinklers – Drenchers are occasionally installed inside buildings for specific protection against a particular hazard. i. • Sprinklers • Total Flooding Systems: Carbon dioxide is probably the most appropriate extinguishing medium for fires involving electrical apparatus or oils and flammable liquids. Fire insurers require drenchers systems to have heads of the open type. The pipes are provided with outlets (similar to sprinklers) which when in operation project a screen of water and thus protect the building from radiated heat or flying embers from a neighbouring fire. Electrical sub-stations. and an example may be found in theatres where it is frequently a requirement of the licensing authority that a row of drenchers should be fitted on the stage side of the safety curtain. from which the gas is piped to discharge nozzles at suitable points around the compartment. comprising a battery of carbon dioxide cylinders. computer suites or paint-dipping plants may be protected by a fixed system. The system is non-automatic and there would be no alarm device incorporated. The system may be controlled manually or alternatively actuated automatically – usually on a break – link device or coupled into a fire detection installation.
Detection Equipments. – Systems which detect the presence of smoke or other combustion products in abnormal amounts. Unlike a sprinkler installation. Automatic fire alarm systems can be divided into the following categories: – Systems which are sensitive to unusual rises in temperature. • Automatic Fire Alarms • Detectors appear in many approved forms but the following are basic types with the principle of operation: – Fixed Temperature Heat Detectors: These react at a fixed predetermined temperature. cause the alarm to be given and also given an indication of the locality in which the fire has occurred. in turn. Actuation (to move in to action) of the detecting mechanism causes electrically – controlled relays (successive relief) to operate which.• Automatic Fire Alarms • Automatic fire alarms are designed for the special purpose of indicating the presence of fire in buildings immediately an outbreak has occurred. Signalling Equipment. • Automatic Fire Alarms • The sequence of operation is similar in all cases. and 3. Control Apparatus. 2. automatic fire alarms perform no function in extinguishing a fire and their success is therefore entirely dependent upon the speed of the response and the efficiency of the fire fighting of the persons so summoned. – Systems capable of detecting infra red radiation or ultra violet radiation emitted by flames. This action usually depends on the
. The system is therefore comprises three sections: 1.
The Public Fire Brigade either directly or through an approved central fire alarm department. or 2. • Automatic Fire Alarms – Smoke Detectors: The only smoke detectors approved for general use operate on the ionisation principle and respond to a wide range of combustion products including gases from burning plastics. They are classed as: – Class A – 5 minutes attendance time. The brigade must meet the requirements of the insurers and have provision to immediately alert the Public Fire Brigade. – Class B – 10 minutes attendance time.fusion of a solder at a temperature commonly in the region of 65 degree C. – Class C – 15 minutes attendance time. They generally give a quicker response in the early stages of heat build – up since they react on a small rise of temperature – of say 17 degree C provided that the rise is sufficiently quick. • Smoke Venting
. If smoke or combustion products are present there will be a change in the current flow which is sufficient to trigger the detector and so operate the relays in the alarm circuit. 1. A permanently manned watch room of a Private Fire Brigade by a monitored line to an approved indicator panel. – Automatic Fire Alarms • System provides that an automatic alarm call transmission be made to either: 1. – Compensated Heat Detectors: These are also known as rate of heat – rise detectors.
roof vents retard fire growth and restrict fire spread. – If the roof vents were allowed to operate before the sprinklers it is believed that there might not be a sufficient build – up of heat to operate the sprinklers which would not serve their purpose of attacking fires. the smoke and hot gases will rise and take the easiest means of escape through the vent thus minimising the risk of lateral (coming from side) spread and preventing concealment of the seat of the fire by smoke so that it can be more readily attacked and extinguished. since there is no means of escape for the hot gases the fire will tend to spread laterally until the entire floor area may be involved. 2. or nearly above. the seat of the fire.• In single storey undivided industrial buildings a fire involving a relatively small amount of material can quickly generate sufficient smoke and hot gases to fill the building and conceal the seat of the fire so that fire fighting becomes both difficult and dangerous. When a roof vent is opened above. Further. – The dangers may be reduced by the fitting of roof vents which may be controlled either manually or automatically by the operation of smoke or heat detectors. – The opening doors or windows with a view to dispersing he smoke would increase the supply of air and consequently oxygen so that the intensity of the fire and the speed of its spread would also increase. It is generally accepted that. 1.
. except when rapid burning materials such as paper or cardboard are involved.