According to the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), a fire is the destructive burning of material that produces light, flame, heat and smoke. The menace of fire as a potential disaster is with us every day. Most of the deaths that result from fires can be avoided. Fires have become increasingly life threatening hazards, because in a few minutes it can kill and destroy.
There are four categories of fires:
- Class A: These fires are ordinary materials like burning paper, lumber, cardboard, plastics.
- Class B: These fires involve flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene and common organic solvents used in laboratories.
- Class C: Theses fires involve energized electrical equipment, such as appliances, switches, panel boxes, power tools, hot plates. Water is particularly dangerous extinguishing medium for class c fires because of the risk of electrical shock.
- Class D: These involve combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium potassium and sodium (these are more likely to be found in labs). These materials burn at high temperatures and react violently with water, air, and /or other chemicals.
Read more about fire hazards here.
Bushfires often result from the careless management of fires in dry areas. During the dry season of January to April, bushfires spread easily due to the dry windy conditions. Certain precautions can be taken to lessen the risk of fire damage to a home and property.
There are several precautionary measures you can take to avoid the occurrence and spread of bushfires:
- Don’t provide the fire with fuel. A firebreak may be constructed around the house to protect a house and property. If your house is threatened by a bushfire you can move firewood, dried grass or bush and other combustibles away from your house.
- Avoid using fires to clear land especially during this period.
- Never light a fire in an open area when it is windy as sparks may blow about and cause the fire to spread.
- Smokers must ensure that cigarette butts, matches and other lighted materials are extinguished before disposal
- Avoid starting fires idly. If you absolutely must burn, construct a firebreak by clearing an area around the proposed area to be burnt.