The 4 Major Components of Fire & Why It Matters | SERVPRO® of Rapid City
Pop quiz: What is a tetrahedron? Don’t worry, you can use Google! It’s a three-dimensional, triangular shape with four equal sides.
You may be wondering what we are getting at. Surprisingly, it has to do with fire safety.
A fire needs four components, which are known as the fire tetrahedron.. Without these elements working together, a fire can’t start.
Fuel. This has to be something that can be burned. Things like woods, plastics or fibers are all perfect fuel sources for fire.
Heat. The amount of heat needed will vary for each item, but every object has a threshold at which point it will either ignite or melt.
Oxygen. Fires need oxygen to produce an expanding series of chemical reactions. For easier understanding, oxygen feeds a fire so it can grow, generating products of combustion (like smoke and carbon monoxide) in the process.
Chemical Chain Reaction. Like we mentioned above, oxygen produces a chemical reaction, and that cycle is what feeds a fire and produces a chain reaction. This will keep the fire burning as long as this chain reaction isn’t disturbed.
Cool it. When trying to put a fire out, you have to find a way to exhaust the heat. You can do this by dousing it with water until combustion is no longer possible. Because of high heat, water can sometimes evaporate or boil, so a good bit may be needed to put the fire out.
Smother it. Just like anything in life, in order to live, fire has to have oxygen. If you smother a fire, you are starving it from the oxygen it needs to keep going.
Starve it. Fires will continue to burn as long as they have adequate fuel. The best thing you can do is to remove any source of fuel from a fire’s paths in order to help starve it to death.
Interrupt the chain reaction. There are chemical agents that can effectively disrupt the chain and put a stop to a fire, like halon. Halon is very effective for this purpose, but it has an elevated potential for ozone depletion, which makes it an environmental threat.
If the fire tetrahedron makes a wreck of your home or business, we’re ready around the clock to help you recover. Contact SERVPRO anytime for fast, thorough cleanup and recovery after a fire.