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The Fire Triangle

A simple model for understanding the cause and development of each fire, the fire triangle lists the essential elements of any fire. To understand how to stop combustion and put out a fire, it is crucial to comprehend the triangle’s three main principles.

The three components of the fire triangle—oxygen, heat, and fuel—simplify and define the elements for fire initiation and growth. Only when all three are present can the chemical interaction between each of the three components take place.

The basic principle behind the fire triangle is that each component is necessary for the initiation and spread of any fire, but it also shows how the loss of just one component can stop or completely put out a fire.

Always keep in mind the fire triangle while thinking about fire safety. A continuing fire can start to decrease if any one of the fire triangle’s components is removed. If you take away even one of these, the fire will stop burning.


Like humans, fires need oxygen to survive. If that oxygen is taken away, the fire would slowly extinguish. Suffocating a fire and preventing its access to oxygen can be accomplished with the use of carbon dioxide fire extinguishers and fire blankets.

The combustion reaction requires oxygen because it combines with the burning fuel to produce heat and CO2. Because the Earth’s atmosphere contains 21% oxygen, there is ample available to start a fire if the other two components are present. When at all feasible, try to suffocate a fire by smothering it with the most suitable sort of fire extinguisher, water, or a covering substance like earth.

A carbon dioxide extinguisher or a fire blanket can be used to remove oxygen from the area around the fire. The carbon dioxide extinguisher pulls oxygen away from the fire and replaces it with non-flammable, denser-than-air carbon dioxide. Fire blankets create a barrier around the fire to keep it from getting extra oxygen. Another method of drawing away oxygen would be closing doors during an evacuation of a building. This stops a new supply of oxygen from entering.


Heat automatically comes to mind when you think about fire. One of the best ways to weaken and ultimately put out a fire is to reduce its heat. A good example of this would be to blow out the flame of a candle. The candle stops burning when the heat is removed from it by the swiftly moving air. Heat not only increases the likelihood that a fire will start but also helps keep one going by eliminating moisture from fuel sources and warming the surroundings, making it easier for the fire to spread.

Water effectively absorbs the heat from a fire, making it a helpful tool for eliminating a fire’s heat. However, water should never be used to put out electrical fires since doing so increases the risk of electric shock, or oil fires because doing so makes the fire worse since oil and water do not mix.


Any fire needs a fuel source—something that burns—to get going. Paper, wood, textiles, plastic, and various gases are common flammable materials. Fire-resistant materials are beneficial because they prevent potential fires from having a fuel source to support their spread.

The removal approach is not always the best way to put out a fire; rather, it only slows its growth and prevents it from spreading. A fire will burn until all the fuel is consumed or intervention measures, such as removing heat and/or oxygen, have been used.

This is a very successful way of fire protection because, by employing fire-resistant materials, any fire will not have enough of a fuel supply to keep burning. Clothing, furniture, and construction materials may all be made with fire-resistant materials. If the trees surrounding a fire can be cut down to stop it from spreading, forest fires can also be controlled more successfully. This strategy is called a firebreak.

Extinguish Fires Effectively

By going through the fire triangle’s foundational principles, the necessary procedures for talking about fire safety are simplified. To put out a fire, you must remove one element from the fire triangle. The fire triangle’s guiding principles have played a significant role in the creation of fire extinguishers.

The fire triangle establishes what must be done in the event of a fire, as well as the essential preparation and procedures required to avoid the first lighting of the fire. All the principles should be considered in the revision or application of fire safety training and regulations.

What Are the 3 Methods for Extinguishing a Fire

According to OSHA, there are more than 200 workplace fires every day, with over 5,000 individuals injured each year. There is a small number of incidents that are deadly despite the fact that the majority are quickly stopped. Making sure that staff and employees are aware of practical fire safety precautions is essential.

There are several ways to put out a fire. Previously, we discussed the components of the fire triangle —heat, fuel, and oxygen. To start a fire, these three things are required. These are also vital to comprehending extinguishing techniques.


Cooling with water is one of the most typical ways of putting out a fire. The fuel is cooled until it produces insufficient vapor to ignite. The drop in temperature is achieved by applying enough water to create a negative heat balance.

Burning will stop if the rate at which heat is produced by combustion is lower than the rate at which heat is lost from the burning substance. The fire may eventually go out if the pace at which heat is lost from it exceeds the rate at which heat is produced.

Due to its high thermal capacity, water is an effective cooling agent. This makes it the fire extinguishing chemical that is by far the most extensively used, and it is readily available in enormous amounts.


In certain instances, putting out a fire only requires removing the fuel source. There are several ways to do this, including stopping the flow of liquid, removing solid fuel from the fire’s path, or letting the fire burn until all the fuel is gone.

Take away possible fuel sources from the area around the fire such as:


Fires will stop if the oxygen supply to the substance is cut off. The basic strategy is to keep new air away from the fire’s source by:

Smothering can also be accomplished by depriving the fire of oxygen.

Fire Types and Their Extinguishers

Fire is fire; thousands of deaths every year are caused by it. However, did you know there are at least five different kinds of fires? To put out these types of fires, certain techniques must be used. Based on the fire’s fuel supply, fires are divided into several groups. Keep the appropriate tools on hand that are made to put out particular sorts of flames to keep your house or place of business safe.

When materials have a chemical shift as a result of heat, it ignites. Fire may spread and intensify as a result of this. Flame color is the key to distinguishing between a fire and smoke. Flames that are red, orange, or yellow show that the organic substance is burning carbon molecules. Blue flames are a sign that anything with a high carbon content, such oil or wax, has caught fire.

The main characteristics that differentiate fire from other light sources are color, pattern, and movement. Different types of fires are put out using a broad range of materials, from basic fuels like wood and paper to more sophisticated ones like gasoline and other flammable liquids.

How Do Chemical Fire Extinguishers Work?

Depending on their classification, different chemicals are used in fire extinguishers. Using carbon dioxide (CO2) or nitrogen, portable extinguishers pressurize a stream of these fire-suppressing chemicals toward the fire. CO2 is effective yet deadly when used at the levels required to put out a fire.

The majority of fire extinguishers used in homes are dry chemical extinguishers. They are capable of putting out all three sorts of fire that you can encounter in a kitchen or workshop: electrical fires, combustible liquid fires like grease or gasoline. A dry chemical fire extinguisher’s purpose is to cover the fuel with an inert substance (like dirt or sand). Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3, baking soda), potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3, virtually equivalent to baking soda), or monoammonium phosphate ((NH4)h3PO4) are all used in dry chemical extinguishers. These particles cover the fuel and douse the flames.

Many fire extinguishing systems are incorporated within the structure or building being protected. Due to their low cost and high level of dependability, water sprinklers are by far the most popular form of a permanent system.

How Do Water Fire Extinguishers Work?

Compared to other fire extinguishers, water extinguishers have a unique design. A water fire extinguisher’s purpose is to cool or put out the flames by releasing water. When the safety pin is removed, the lever is squeezed, and the tamper seal is broken. Then, a pointed rod inside the valve assembly is forced downward, puncturing a canister carrying high-pressure gas.

The water is forced downward as the gas is discharged into the cylindrical tank. After that, the water is forced through a tube that climbs the interior of the fire extinguisher tank to the valve assembly and exits the hose. The gas pressure pushes the water out of the extinguisher with enough power to put out the fire from a safe distance of four to six feet away.

The 5 Most Popular Extinguishing Methods

Cut Off Oxygen Supply – The majority of kitchen fires are put out with this technique. It’s interesting to note that minor kitchen fires cause the majority of home fires. Heat, fuel, and oxygen are the final elements that must be present for a fire to start. You can efficiently put out a fire if any of these elements are absent or eliminated.

Salt or Baking Soda – Authorities strongly advise using this technique to put out grease fires that start in the kitchen. Never try to put out a grease fire using water. Salt or baking soda is the best alternative and is usually available in the kitchen. These granular chemicals efficiently extinguish the fire by suffocating it with carbon dioxide.

Sodium bicarbonate, sometimes known as baking soda, is the same chemical that fire extinguishers contain. Baking soda is a fire extinguisher in its basic, drier form; similar to how salt and even sand work by essentially smothering the fire. Because of this, fire buckets loaded with sand are found in the majority of workplaces.

Water – Pouring water on a fire is one of the most often used methods of putting it out. Heat energy is easily absorbed by water. Spraying water on flames with high temperatures successfully lowers the fire’s temperature and vaporizes water. It takes a lot more energy from the air and materials to vaporize water.

Water vapor in the system now makes asphyxiating the fire simpler. The expanding water vapor forms a blanket that acts as a shield between the fire and the surrounding oxygen. You’ve extinguished the fire’s source of heat and oxygen.

Fire Extinguisher – Fire extinguishers are among the most wonderful modern inventions. Fire extinguishers often work well when the fire is small and controlled. Different kinds of fire extinguishers are used for various sorts of fires. A soda-acid fire extinguisher, which includes sodium bicarbonate and an acid flask, is the most popular variety. Acid is broken down by a chemical process that results in foamy water.

Know how to use a fire extinguisher appropriately if you find yourself in a scenario where you need to use one. Pull the pin to release the tamper seal first. Aim the nozzle low, at the base of the fire. Once the insides of the tank have been released by pressing down on the handle, make sweeping strokes to extinguish the flames.

Wet Blankets or Towels –Smothering a tiny fire with a damp towel is another efficient method for extinguishing a fire. The process is the same as dousing a fire with water. It only stops the fire from obtaining more oxygen from the surrounding air. While the water evaporates into water vapor, the blanket serves as a barrier, further preventing oxygen from reaching the flames. NEVER use an apron or other dry object to put out a fire. You run the danger of fanning the flames, only making matters worse.