The Way a Fire Starts

If you have ever been in the unfortunate situation where you've experienced being in a fire, you know exactly what a traumatizing experience that can be. You may have wondered, after the fact, "How in the world did that fire start anyway?"  While there are many types of objects that can be catalysts for a fire, a few specific pieces of the fire puzzle need to be in place if a blaze is really going to grow. While you may feel lucky just escaping with your life, knowing exactly how a fire works can help you prevent one in the future.

For a fire to begin and continue to burn and grow, the simple equation is heat + oxygen + fuel. If you omit any one of those elements, a fire will not continue to burn. Think of times when you may have been camping. You need to light a match to get the fire cooking (that's heat). The, you need to feed the fire with material to burn - paper, twigs, logs, kindling, etc. (that's fuel). Then, once your fire is going and you want to put it out, you smother it with water or sand (that's the oxygen).

For a fire to burn out of control, those elements need to be present. If you remove any of them, you remove the fire as well. That first stage when the fire starts is called ignition. After that, the next stage of a fire is called flamespread. This is when the flames quickly travel over the surfaces that are adjacent to the fire. As the fire grows in intensity, the objects that have been ignited emit more violate gas, which actually works to fuel and strengthen the fire.

The next stage after flamespread is called flashover. Flashover occurs when gas and air reach their tipping points, and the flames just burst out in all directions. When this happens, the fire isn't contained to what initially was ignited.

Once flashover happens, the fire will continue in a steady burn, destroying everything in its path, which is the final stage: total combustion.

Now that we know the process of how a fire starts and burns, we can talk prevention. Flameproofing is a huge deterrent for a fire to blaze out of control. When objects have been treated with fire retardants, 2 of the 3 elements in our fire equation are taken out of the picture (fuel and oxygen). When the flames (heat) touch the materials that have been treated with fire retardants, nitrogen and carbon dioxide are released. When this occurs, the carbon dioxide creates a carbon char, which, in essence, is a non-combustible barrier. What this does is separates oxygen from the treated materials. The nitrogen is also important here because it displaces the oxygen, which, we know - a fire cannot burn unless there is oxygen present.

This buffer zone between the carbon char and the object protects the object and also cuts off fuel for the fire. Additionally, toxic gases that can cause major smoke inhalation damage are trapped in that space, making it safer for people to evacuate.

When you know how a fire starts, while it's not a guarantee that there won't ever be one, it does help you eliminate factors that can cause it. Flameproofing is one of those amazing prevention methods that can truly minimize damage as well as the severity of a fire if one does start.

Brooklyn Flameproofing are experts in the flameproofing field, and we would love to serve your business. If you have questions or flameproofing needs, we are here to help. Give us a call today, and we can also offer you a free, no-obligation quote as well: 800-401-5415.

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