what are the five classes of fire and how to protect yourself effectively?

what are the five classes of fire and how to protect yourself effectively?
what are the five classes of fire and how to protect yourself effectively?

More than 300,000 cases of house fire are detected each year in France according to the Ministry of the Interior and domestic fires are the cause of 460 deaths and 10,000 injuries according to figures from Public Health France.

All-out fire in French forests

Far from being the prerogative of the United States and Canada, the summer season also brings its share of fires to France. Heat, poor management of forest land and human errors are at the origin of the outbreak of fires. According to the French Forest Observatory, in 2022, 58,000 hectares were covered by “forest fires and other wooded lands”.

The only natural cause of these causes is lightning, 90% of the fires generated are caused by humans. According to the observatory, 70% of them originate from economic activity (such as construction sites or agricultural activities) or daily activities (butts, trash cans, barbecues) and 30% from malicious acts.

Fires from domestic incidents

In addition to the forest, a geographical area where fires are widely publicized because fires have more opportunity to spread there, residential areas are also conducive to sparks and domestic accidents. They can also cause destructive and potentially fatal fires.

There is only one effective way to counter them: having a good reading of the fire, that is to say, understanding its origin to find the best way to extinguish or suffocate it. In fact, you should definitely not use the same extinguishing means for a gas fire as for a fire originating from a solid fuel.

What should I do if a fire breaks out in my home?

These different fires are divided into 6 classes:

  • Class A fires : Fires of solids (paper, wood, cotton, cardboard). These fires can be extinguished with water, especially not CO2.
  • Class B fires : fires of liquids or liquefiable solids. These are fires that come from gasoline, solvents, plastic, alcohol. For this category, do not use water alone. Prefer water sprayed with additive and CO2.
  • Class C fires : gas fires, for which you simply turn off the gas.
  • Class D fires : metal fires, for which a class D powder extinguisher must be used. For these fires, there is a danger of explosion: the use of water is dangerous.
  • Class F fires, oil and cooking fat fires. For these fires, use a class F fire extinguisher and cover the fire Source with a damp, but not soaked, towel as oil can react violently with water.
  • Finally, electrical fires, which are not classified because they can be class B fires. For example, if a short circuit occurs and sets fire to a plastic housing, then the origin of the fire will be classified B, but with an electrical origin. The means of extinguishing this fire are therefore the same as for class B.

In addition to having these classifications in mind, it is also important for optimal protection to have some additional information and recommendations in mind:

  • Firefighter number (18 or 112)
  • Avoid fumes which are often toxic, or place a tissue over your nose and mouth, move closer to the ground where the smoke will be less present
  • Evacuate the premises if a fire breaks out in your home
  • Stay at home by closing the door and blocking the exits with a damp cloth if the fire breaks out outside, in the hall of a building for example. A closed door slows the spread of flames and smoke.
  • Be careful not to take the elevator: if the electricity goes out, it would be blocked.

Sources : Alertis, French Fire Brigade

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