Home fires : The 4 stages

Posted on May 3, 2020


IMG-20191109-WA0061 edIn the live streaming on 5th May, I want to be able to fully focus on two key areas :

  1. why building fires today are more dangerous than ever before; and
  2. the Prevent, Prepare, Plan program that we have developed

I hope that in this post, having earlier shared with you the Fire Triangle so that you might understand what are the necessary elements for there to be a fire, I want to now clear another very fundamental point essential to our understanding of how we might deal with a fire we are confronted with.

There are four stages in a fire.

Stage 1 : Ignition

Stage 2 : Growth

Stage 3 : Full development

Stage 4 : Decay

In the context of fires in buildings, if confronted with a fire, your most important assets are time and remaining calm.

You will see during the live session that time really is of the essence in dealing with a fire.

Losing your calm is the worst thing you can possibly do.

Now, back to the fire.

The first rule of thumb : leave fire-fighting to the professionals.

However, if you have been alerted early to the outbreak of the fire, and you catch it between stages 1 and 2, with the right tools, this is the stage at which you have the best chance of putting out the fire.

If, however, you catch the fire too late, or your efforts to put it out have failed, and the fire is now between stages 2 and 3, its time to get out of the burning building.

And fast.

When Fire & Rescue attend to a burning link house and if, when they arrive, the fire is already at stage 3, they will never enter the burning house.

Instead, they will pump water in from the outside, to douse the fire and bring the temperature down, as well as hose the adjoining properties with a view to protecting the properties on the left and right.

At stage 3, the temperatures are so high that any human caught in that building will rapidly start to disorientate.

Statistics suggest that for anyone trapped in a burning building where the fire has reached stage 3, the chances of survival are remote.

It is also worth noting here that in most fatalities related to burning buildings, it is the smoke inhalation rather than burns that is the cause of death most often.

I hope this has helped.