For most individuals, a home is a source of stability in life, serving as an environment in which to spend time with our loved ones and entertain guests. However, the National Fire Protection Agency estimates that in regards to all fires that occur inside a structure, ninety percent of these occur in a home, this translates to about three thousand civilian fatalities annually.
But what exactly leads to these fatal fires? This is a question unanswered up to date. Well, here are some of the causes that lead to fire becoming destructive as well as life threatening.
Causes of fires in homes
A small kid, say, 7-10 years is home alone. On the table with him is a matchbox. As we all know kids are curious beings. They will light a match and watch what it can possibly burn, just to satisfy their curiosity. Consequently, they end up lighting something like a paper on the table which will spread to the sofa and before you know it, the whole house is on fire. To avoid this, matchsticks and matchboxes should be kept as far away as possible from them.
- Cigarette smoking
Smoking cigarettes is also one of the major causes of fire. Once one is done smoking, he/she forgets to put off the cigarette completely and hence, the cigarette lights up something flammable like the tablecloth then the table and then every other thing in the house will catch fire. Smokers should therefore be extremely careful when smoking in the house. They should make sure they completely put off the cigarette and dispose off the cigarette butts in the right places.
Did you know that cooking is ranked as the leading cause of fire in the home? Well, you may be going about your cooking in the kitchen as well as holding a conversation with friends in the living room. It is said that serving two masters at the same time will have one master overpower the other. In this case, the conversation with friends gets too interesting to a point of forgetting the cooking taking place in the kitchen and soon, everything in the kitchen area catches fire and it spreads to the other rooms in the house.
- Extension cords
Never use an extension cord as a long-term solution for your electricity needs. A much safer alternative is to hire an electrician to install additional electrical receptacles. The results will be that it will be safer and much more convenient.
- Faulty home appliances
Inspect your appliances regularly to ensure they’re still in proper working condition. Pay close attention to plugs and power cords. If they’re bent or frayed, stop using the appliance immediately and discard responsibly.
Candles look small and pretty but if left unattended, can easily cause a room to burn in flames. They should be kept away from flammable things like books and clothes.
Barbecues are great for an outdoor meal but should be kept far away from the house. This is because, wind blows uncontrollably and if the barbecue is next to the house, it will easily light up the house and since there is wind outside, the fire will spread very fast.
Causes of fires at work places
- Faulty electrics
Loose wires and overloaded plugs are death traps at work. This comes hand in hand with negligence and human error, for instance, spilling liquids into electrical equipment. Extra care should be taken when dealing with electronic equipment. Every person working should be well informed on the do’s and don’ts of electric equipment.
- Flammable liquids
Most workplaces have flammable liquids and once these liquids sense just a little fire, become a disaster that is sometimes almost impossible to avert. Flammable liquids should be kept as far away as possible from places that fire is often is used.
Causes of fires in schools
- Students and staff
Fire in school in most cases is started intentionally by the students or even staff. These fires are usually unpredicted and are started in trash cans or piles of garbage since they are the easiest to light. A fire can also be started in the laboratory when there is use of equipment like the Bunsen burner. As such, there should be close monitoring of students in school and precautions taken immediately in case of any suspicious activity noticed.
Other causes of fires
Camping is a fun activity but can also be disastrous if extra care is not taken. During the night, campers tend to light up fire to keep warm. If the fire is not well put out or is left unattended, it can spread wildly and uncontrollably. This leads to massive destruction of the environment and even loss of lives. While camping, caution should be taken when lighting a fire, campers should ensure they totally put off the fire and never leave it unattended to.
- Car fires
These fires occur when there is a mechanical error, oil or fuel leak and less often by an accident. Once car owners have taken their cars for repair, they should double check the cars before driving off, for the sake of their safety.
Those are just a few causes of fire. Basically, as seen above most fire outbreaks are caused at home. Safety starts with you, so it’s up to you to ensure you take extra caution when handling fire. Fire related incidents are potentially devastating, but fortunately they’re easy to prevent, especially if you are aware of the most common fire hazards and take steps to combat them
Fire station tours are an excellent opportunity for public relations and public fire education for the fire department. A Firefighter is involved in the business of saving lives, whether it entails response to a fire after it has occurred or, more importantly, before it occurs. The truth is that we’re far more likely to save kids’ lives through fire safety education and the knowledge of stopping or taking proper action during a fire incident than by the actual rescue. A fire station tour is a great opportunity to teach valuable life safety skills to visitors and for children and adults to learn that firefighters do so much more than fight fires.
Make Sure You have Enough Chaperones
When you bring children into the fire department, keep in mind that they are not maintained to be child-friendly. The kids will need close supervision, so that they don’t wander off on their own to inspect a dangerous area. Ensure children understand that in the case of an emergency, firefighters will have to leave the station even if a tour is in progress.
Helpful Tips for Children Learned at a Visit to the Fire Station:
Children should be able to dial 911 and say their address and full names as soon as they can speak. Kids quickly pick up technological skills, so pushing phone buttons to them is second nature! Make them understand that they only ever call that number if somebody is in danger, including if they see a fire.
Practice Fire Drills
Have you had a fire drill in your own home? Do your kids know what to do in case there is a fire in the house? Ask the kids to push the test button on the smoke detectors, so that they can learn what they sound like and what measures to take if they ever hear that sound. After your kids realize what the alarm noise is, they need to practice exiting the house as quickly as possible.
Arrange a Meeting Place
It’s important to have a pictorial presentation of your family’s fire escape plan. Indicate two ways to escape from all rooms and determine your chosen meeting place if everyone needs to evacuate. It can be any place that is far enough from the house. Remember to schedule dates for the family fire drills throughout the year so that everyone knows what to do.
One of the most helpful recommendations for children is to NEVER hide if there is a fire. Instead, they should get out right away if there is smoke or fire. Children should not go behind furniture, in the closet, under the bed, etc. They must understand that they should never go back into the house if there’s a fire, even for a favorite toy or pet.
Exposure to Firefighters in Fire Suits
In a fire, it’s important for the kids to run towards the firefighter, and not run away from them and hide. This can be learned through regular tours to the fire station. Children should know how firefighters look in their full gear. The firefighter’s “space alien” look can be scary and intimidating for kids. The more exposure children have to firemen and what they look like, the less likely they will be frightened should they ever have to see one in your home during a fire rescue.
Practice Stop, Drop & Roll
Little kids love to practice action steps and memorize patterns, so this is a simple one to make into a fun game for their safety. Teach kids that if their clothes catch fire, they should: Stop! Drop to the ground! Cover their faces and Roll until the fire is out. This technique should be practiced often so that it will become an automatic response in an emergency situation.
Please be aware of the following for fire station tours:
- Recommended group size is thirty individuals.
- Children must be at least five years old.
- A release of liability form must be completed for each visitor.
- All fire stations are on call status, even during the station tour. Therefore, if an emergency is received at the station, the tour may be canceled early to respond to the emergency call.
- Visits are a maximum of one hour.
- Transportation must remain available on site as tours may be canceled or interrupted on short notice because of emergency call outs.
- These tours are meant to be educational in nature. Consequently, facilities to accommodate food, drinks or parties are not offered.
- Visitors will not be allowed to mount or handle equipment any fire apparatus unless supervised and approved by fire personnel.
If you there is a fire pole at the station, it may be fun to let the children see one of the firefighters slide down it. Under no circumstances should you let the kids do the same. I’m sure I don’t have to explain why.
Formal tours should be scheduled in advance and coordinated through the appropriate office (Training, administrative, planning, etc.) whenever possible, and groups should be limited to a manageable size if a tour must be terminated due to an emergency response. During times of elevated security threat levels, or immediately following an incident where hose and tools need to be tested, inventoried, and cleaned, firehouse tours should be rescheduled to a later time and date.
Fire departments often hold open houses as part of their community education programs. If a private tour cannot be planned, ask when the next open house event is scheduled. These are often more fun than privately arrange visits as they last longer and there are more firefighters on hand to answer questions. The community events mean that there is more firefighting equipment available for the public to look at. The scheduled open houses are also more reliable since arrangements have already been made for other fire departments in the area to act in response to distress calls and the trip is less likely to be canceled.
The job of responding to emergency situations and fighting fires is one of the most physically demanding and dangerous professions. To help improve the performance, safety, and quality of life of firefighters, they’re required to better understand the relationship between physical fitness and improved job performance.
Firefighting is a career that requires you to be at the top of your game at all times. Concrete evidence indicates that there is a dire
ct correlation between endurance and strength in accomplishing the physical task of a fire fighter’s occupation and that a physically fit firefighter is twice as efficient in finishing a series of fire ground tasks as a less fit co-worker.
Although a firefighter may be physically fit and strong, other aspects go into the making of a healthy and well-rounded responded. So, not every Tom, Dick, and Harry is given a chance to serve as a firefighter. You must possess some important qualifications to become an effective firefighter. Of course, you have to undergo and pass the firefighting training. Other than that, you need to hold some personal qualities and physical attributes such as:
- Ability to learn and take orders
- A strong interest in promoting community safety
- Commitment to honesty
- Good communication skills to deal with injured victims,
- Courage and sound judgment
The firefighting service is starting to realize that a higher number of deaths and injuries result from preventable causes. The lack of physical activity associated with the increasing number of obese individuals is alarming. Fitness training is a necessity in the fire service if you want to maintain your health and longevity on the job.
Are You Fit To Be A Firefighter?
Firefighting is a rewarding but very dangerous occupation. Firefighters risk a lot to save a lot, and at times these results in fatal injuries. No matter how physically fit a firefighter may be at the time, not all injuries can be avoided. But just as athletes train hard to prepare for a game, firefighters can also work on preventing some of these fatal injuries by being as ready as possible to go to work at any given time.
Physical fitness is described as the overall physical condition of the body, which can range from injury or extreme illness at one end of the spectrum to peak condition for performance at the other. The key fitness components for firefighting are muscular strength, aerobic endurance, flexibility and muscular endurance. Ideal physical fitness for a firefighter translates to being able to carry out firefighting activities successfully and without fatigue.
Firefighters should participate in a routine exercise program to prepare for the physical demands of the job. One of the barriers to exercising while on duty is the lack of access to fitness equipment in the firefighter station. Firefighting equipment can be used in a regular exercise program to enhance functional performance and physical fitness.
Aerobic endurance is the ability to exercise for a long time at low to high intensity. This is also what limits your ability to continue to swim, cycle or run for more than a couple of minutes and is dependent on your body’s lungs, heart and blood to get the oxygen you breathe to the muscles providing you with the energy needed to maintain a lengthy exercise. Typical aerobic activities include jogging-running, aerobic dance exercise, stair climbing, skating, swimming, rope skipping, just to mention a few.
Muscular strength is described as the maximum force that your muscles exert. Firefighting tasks need strength and are much more strenuous and demanding compared to those of the average office worker. For a firefighter to give more than the average citizen, he must be physically strong to perform tasks like rescuing victims moving equipment, and advancing hose line much more easily.
Since muscular strength is also at the core of physical performance and skill, firefighters will be able to better handle themselves throughout fire duration as they take on heavy workloads if they choose to incorporate strength training into their regular workout routine. Adequate rest should be given to let the muscles to recuperate before performing further exercises. At least forty-eight hours rest should be allowed before repeating exercises.
Endurance training is one of the most important elements in firefighter health. Muscular endurance is synonymous with both muscular strength and aerobic endurance, but allows you to continue to push, carry, pull, and lift heavy objects for a long time without tiring. Muscular endurance is trained using controlled resistances over an extended period of activities, like circuit training.
Circuit training has been reported to be an appropriate training method as it places similar physiological demands on the body when compared to on-the-job firefighting tasks.
Flexibility is the ability of your joints to move through their full range of motion. It is one of the most important components of firefighter physical fitness since it allows them to work in cramped positions without overly stressing the ligaments, muscles, and tendons. For instance, firefighters sometimes have to crawl through a small space or opening while searching the floor space for a casualty in a house fire. Flexibility is best developed using controlled and slow stretching exercises.
When you go for an interview as a firefighter applicant, recruiters will not only look for physical traits, strength, endurance, and flexibility; but also your personal qualities. These personal qualities are generally known as the Firefighter Personal Qualities and Attributes (PQAs).Your personality reflects your individual work ethics. It shows how much you love and value your job of helping other people in jeopardy. So, apart from the physical exam, you will be assessed based on your outlook in life and personal character traits.
A career as a firefighter is no joke since it requires dedication and full commitment to your work. You must be available anytime when emergency situations calls for duty. Saving people’s lives is a respectable and reputable job. Can you imagine life without firefighters to rescue in times of fires and accidents?