THE FIRE TRIANGLE

The fire triangle or ″fire diamond″ are simple models for understanding the necessary ingredients for most fires

The triangle illustrates the three elements a fire needs to ignite: heat, fuel and oxygen. A fire naturally occurs when the elements are present and combined in the right mixture, meaning that fire is actually an event rather than a thing. A fire can be prevented or extinguished by removing any one of the elements in the fire triangle. For example, covering a fire with a fire blanket removes the oxygen part of the triangle and can extinguish a fire but in large fires where firefighters are called in, decreasing the amount of oxygen is not usually an option because there is no effective way to make that happen in an extended area.

To stop a combustion reaction, one of the three elements of the fire-triangle has to be removed.

Without sufficient heat, a fire cannot begin, and it cannot continue. Heat can be removed by the application of a substance which reduces the amount of heat available to the fire reaction. This is often water, which absorbs heat for phase change from water to steam. Introducing sufficient quantities and types of powder or gas in the flame reduces the amount of heat available for the fire reaction in the same manner. Turning off the electricity in an electrical fire removes the ignition source.

Without fuel, a fire will stop. Fuel can be removed naturally, as when the fire has consumed all the burnable fuel; or manually, by mechanically or chemically removing the fuel from the fire. The fire stops because a lower concentration of fuel vapor in the flame leads to a decrease in energy release and a lower temperature. Removing the fuel thereby decreases the heat.

Without sufficient oxygen, a fire cannot begin, and it cannot continue. With a decreased oxygen concentration, the combustion process slows. Oxygen can be denied to a fire using a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher or a fire blanket

The first step in a firefighting operation is reconnaissance to search for the origin of the fire, to identify the specific risks, and to locate possible casualties.

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