Fire hazards in industries and at home in India and world wide – Fire safety features have to be strictly designed into buildings especially high-rise ones. Hence architects, structural engineers, construction people, interior designers, city authorities and owners of industries should all be interested in precautions against fire.
Important fire hazards and safety measures explained
All owners of industries and builders of should follow all the applicable building codes and approved practices. The ever-increasing incidences of fires in multi-storeyed buildings are a dangerous trend.
A house has a lot of inflammable items in the form of gas, liquids and solids.
Some of these are cooking gas, matchboxes, gasoline or petrol, kerosene, nail polish remover, paints and thinners, furniture polish and wax, cigarette lighter fuel, oil, any kind of plastic, clothes, especially synthetic ones, rugs, upholstered furniture, wood paneling etc.
The above list is not an exhaustive one but it should give an idea that, except for concrete and metal, the rest can catch fire easily. One should, therefore, take all the necessary steps to avoid fires, detect them, fight them, and escape from them safely should the need arise.
The safety nuggets given below will help reduce the chances of fire and also in fighting a fire should one break out.
Fire in the kitchen
Do not store cookies, candy, etc. above the cooking range or stove. Children will try to get to them even if the stove is hot and in use. They are likely to get burnt.
Do not use the oven for storing pans containing oil leftover after being used for frying or for storing of utensils.
It is very likely that someone will turn the oven on to warm it without first looking inside to check for the stored items. This may cause a fire.
Inflammable liquids, cardboard boxes, rags, etc., should be stored away from heaters, furnaces, cooking ranges, stoves, and even from direct sunlight.
Do not use or store aerosol cans near open flames or near a source of heat, including sunlight.
The increased pressure in the can due to the heat-induced expansion of the gas inside will result in an explosive rupture, throwing pieces all around.
This could hurt people and property, and the contents of the ruptured can, if inflammable, could ignite causing a fire.
For the same reasons, do not puncture or incinerate an aerosol container even when empty since some amount of gas will always be there.
Do not let drapes, furniture, newspapers, other reading material that are combustible near the stove or near an electric room heater. Ensure that even a breeze cannot bring any of these near an open fire or a very hot surface.
Do you know that the temperature in a cigarette can be over 900 degree C and when a puff is drawn (which brings in the air), it can shoot upto 1200 degree C.
Such a high temperature can ignite most of the materials and hence, one should be extremely careful about the disposal of cigarette butts. Even guests should be requested not to smoke in bed.
Keep cigarette lighters and matchboxes out of reach of children. They may be tempted to try to use them.
This may cause a serious fire in the house, or the child’s clothes may catch fire causing serious burns.
If there are smokers in the family, then one has to be more careful as not to leave lighters and matches in the bathroom, living room, bedrooms, etc. within the easy reach of children
If possible, select non-flammable fabric for upholstered furniture and curtains. Place the upholstered furniture away from sources of heat.
Electric cords should not go underneath furniture since any damage to the cord can cause a short-circuit fire or give a shock.
The major cause of furniture catching fire is a smoldering cigarette or hot ash.
It usually happens when the smoker is not careful, feels drowsy, or keeps an ashtray on the furniture itself.
The old, the infirm and people under the influence of alcohol or medication may not safely dispose of a cigarette butt or ash. Keep an eye on them.
Toxic gases from a furniture fire can cause suffocation. If the fire cannot be brought under control soon enough, call the fire brigade and rush outdoors.