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    What Is a Fire Extinguisher?

    A fire extinguisher is a portable device used to control or put out a small area of a fire. It consists of a pressure-held container filled with a chemical agent that is discharged by turning a handle at the top. The agent smothers the flames by excluding oxygen and interrupts the chain reaction that causes fires to continue burning. Located in easily accessible areas, these devices can save lives and property.

    A fire is a dangerous event that can spread rapidly, and people should evacuate the scene as soon as they are able to do so safely. It is important to have a plan for evacuation in place and to make sure that everyone understands where fire extinguishers are located. Fire extinguishers should be kept in easy-to-reach locations, but should not be stored too close to items that could get thrown around by the force of the extinguisher’s operation.

    There are many different types of fire extinguishers, and they can be classified by their ANSI or UL ratings. The rated capacity indicates the size fire that the extinguisher is capable of fighting. A class A extinguisher can be used on ordinary combustible materials such as wood, paper, cloth and rubber, while a class B fire extinguisher is effective against flammable liquids like grease, gasoline, solvents, paint and oils.

    Dry chemical extinguishers (class A, B and C) use stored pressure to discharge a chemical agent that interrupts the fire’s chain reaction and stops it from spreading. The agent also absorbs moisture from the surface of the flame, preventing it from re-igniting. The earliest units used potassium bicarbonate, but the current agents are a mixture of sodium carbonate and additives including a silicone polymer to prevent moisture absorption and caking.

    Foam (class B) extinguishers use an aqueous film-forming foam to create a seal over the fuel that excludes oxygen. This type of agent is usually blue/red in color. Aqueous foams are aspirated (mixed with air in a branch pipe) or nonaspirated (sprayed directly onto the fire). The latter type can be used on liquid fuels such as gasoline and kerosene. Foams also can be used on polar solvents like alcohol.

    Water (class A) extinguishers dispense water at high pressure to smother the fire. They are not suitable for electrical fires, which should be dealt with by an electrical deluge system.

    Graphite powder (class D) extinguishers contain a finely ground, dust-like, conductive metal such as graphite that smothers hot burning metals by conducting heat away from the fire. This type was originally developed for magnesium fires, but it will work on other metals as well.

    Halon (class B) extinguishers dispense a gas that inhibits the fire’s chemical reactions. It was the first gas to be produced commercially for this purpose. However, new production of halon has been discontinued in the US due to its ozone-depleting effects. Older cylinders can still be used, but must be recycled when empty.

    All fire extinguishers that store a pressurized chemical must be inspected monthly for damage, proper pressure and broken seals. A mandatory annual inspection is also performed, and it is required that the cylinder be completely removed from service, emptied, inspected and refilled every 6 years.

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    Fire Stations

    fire stations

    Fire stations, also known as fire halls or fire houses, are the facilities where a fire department’s personnel work and store equipment. The buildings vary in size and design. Some are modern, and some are historic, including those that were once the headquarters of volunteer fire companies. This article covers both types of fire station, but does not cover specialty fire department buildings such as fire alarm headquarters or water supply pumps; for those, see List of fire department specialty buildings.

    Fire station staffing includes a company officer (usually a lieutenant or captain) and firefighters, usually organized as an engine company, a ladder company, a pumper company or a combination fire truck company. The company officers typically supervise the crews that drive and operate the vehicles, while the firefighters are often assigned to specific jobs, such as driving, pumping, hoselaying, or search and rescue. The company officers also have the authority to deploy resources in the field and call for additional help from the firehouse if necessary.

    The fire house is home to the fire department’s administrative offices and other support staff, as well as the apparatus garage, where fire trucks are maintained. In many cases, a fire station may have an area that is dedicated to training and drills. Some fire departments use a “simulator” for this purpose, which simulates a building or other structure so that firefighters can practice their skills.

    A typical fire station has a wide, often brick parking lot and several vehicles in the garage, including a fire engine, a ladder truck, a rescue vehicle and possibly a helicopter. The garage also houses the firehouse’s fireman’s pole, a ladder used to ascend and descend from the roof of the building. The pole is usually decorated with a city’s official emblem or the insignia of the fire department, as shown here.

    The building itself is usually large enough to house a command center, where fire chiefs and other officials meet and direct operations. Some fire departments have an additional facility where they perform pre-incident planning and inspections.

    Fire stations have a number of other features, such as a cockloft, a storage area for firefighting tools and supplies, and a hydrant pad, where firefighters can hook up their hoses to water. The narrow towers rising above many fire stations are hose towers, which help the crews clean and dry their hoses. Many fire stations have bell or clock towers, as well.

    A typical fire station is staffed by a battalion chief, a firefighter, a fire engineer and three to four firefighters, each with specialized heavy extrication equipment. In addition to the firefighters, a fire station may have a medic and a paramedic. The staffing and equipment at a particular station is determined by the geographic coverage of its service area, its response times, the needs of local businesses and residents, and other factors.

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    What Does a Firefighter Do?

    Firefighter is the name of a job title that describes emergency personnel who respond to calls and perform a variety of tasks to mitigate hazards and protect life and property. While popular dramas often depict firefighters rushing into burning buildings, their daily duties are much more varied. Their duties involve disaster preparedness, emergency medical response, education and public safety. They work as part of a close-knit team that fosters strong camaraderie and mutual support.

    Firefighters must be physically fit and able to make decisions under pressure. They must also undergo rigorous testing and training to qualify for the position. Depending on the state in which they live, they may need a high school diploma or GED certificate, though some jobs require an associate’s degree and/or emergency medical technician (EMT) certification. A bachelor’s degree is sometimes required for advancement to positions such as engineer, lieutenant, captain and battalion chief.

    Many firefighters are also trained to use heavy equipment such as ladders, pumps and rescue vehicles. They must know how to operate these machines and be able to carry out complicated evacuation procedures during hazardous situations.

    They are dispatched to a wide range of emergencies, including structure fires, vehicle accidents and natural disasters. When responding to an accident, they need to assess the situation and collaborate with local police to direct resources and identify criminal activity. At the scene of an incident, they must keep bystanders away from dangerous materials and areas, provide first aid to injured people, and oversee cleanup efforts.

    Firefighters are also responsible for identifying potential fire hazards in their communities and developing effective prevention strategies. This includes inspecting buildings, educating the community and conducting mock disaster drills. They also prepare reports regarding each emergency call they respond to, as well as the fire suppression activities they perform on-site.

    The nature of a firefighter’s job can be very challenging and stressful, especially when they are working on the front lines during a wildfire. In addition to the physical demands, firefighters must cope with the emotional strain of putting human lives ahead of the loss of plant life and property.

    Some firefighters are volunteers, which means they work without pay. Others are career firefighters who have received a competitive salary and benefits package. However, even a successful career in the fire service can be financially draining for many firefighters.

    Firefighting is also a very dangerous job. It’s not uncommon for hundreds or even thousands of candidates to apply for a single firefighter position. Unfortunately, most of those applicants will be disqualified during the entrance process, which includes written and physical examinations, an oral interview, a background investigation and a thorough medical exam.

    In spite of the challenges, many firefighters feel that fighting fires is a worthwhile and honorable profession. Aside from the obvious rewards, such as helping people in need, firefighters receive a sense of satisfaction and pride from knowing that their work contributes to the well-being of their communities.

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    Fire Protection – A System of Prevention and Extinguishment

    Fire Protection: A System of Prevention and Extinguishment

    Every structure – home, office, warehouse, shopping center, hospital, school, church or industrial plant – needs some form of fire protection. Typically, this includes a combination of passive and active systems designed to contain or suppress fire and smoke to limit the spread of the fire, protect people from harm and allow for safe evacuation in case of emergency.

    A typical fire moves through four phases: ignition, growth, full development and burnout. Fire protection is the process of containing fires and pushing them to burnout through cooling, robbing them of oxygen or fuel or chemically breaking down their combustion reaction. Fire safety standards and regulations vary by industry, location, and other criteria and are governed by local, state, national, and international organizations such as OSHA.

    While there are many ways to cause fires, most occur as the result of human error such as misuse of combustible chemicals, kitchen accidents, or improperly stored materials. It’s important to train employees on proper safety practices in the workplace and in the home.

    In addition to training, a comprehensive fire safety program should include regular inspections and maintenance of equipment and systems to ensure they are working properly. A fire protection professional will be able to identify areas of concern and provide recommendations for improvement.

    Fires in the workplace can cost a company millions of dollars in lost production time, machinery damage, and other expenses. It’s also critical to have a plan in place for evacuating the building, relocating employees and customers, and restoring operations after a fire. This can be a complex process and requires the cooperation of everyone involved.

    A well-documented fire protection system can be an invaluable tool in keeping a business up and running, but even the best systems need to be serviced and repaired. Regular inspections and maintenance of fire alarms, sprinklers, suppression systems and other equipment can prevent costly repairs and help avoid fire safety violations.

    At home, make sure to install smoke alarms on every level of your house and test them monthly. Have a fire escape plan and discuss it with your family. Draw a floor plan of your home and identify 2 ways to exit from each room. Keep a fire extinguisher in your house and practice using it. Always soak cigarette butts and ashtrays in water before throwing them away. Never smoke in bed or while taking medicine that makes you drowsy.

    If you find yourself trapped in a room during a fire, call for help from a neighbor’s home or hang a sheet out the window to signal for assistance. Do not break a window, as this will only draw the fire in closer and may cause you to become more exposed to harmful smoke inhalation. If possible, use the stairs instead of the elevator during a fire. In high rise buildings, hang a sheet from your balcony to indicate you need assistance.

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    What to Do After a Fire Accident

    Fire is a devastating event that causes property damage and serious injuries. In some cases, victims suffer traumatic burns that require costly medical care and rehabilitation, as well as permanent disfigurement. A fire accident is often the result of negligent actions, which may give rise to a personal injury lawsuit. The experienced lawyers at Shuman Legal help victims pursue the maximum compensation possible.

    After a fire, it is important to take photographs and video of the damages. Doing so will provide evidence of the extent of your losses and the financial cost to you. Be sure to protect these documents and keep them in a safe place until instructed by your attorney.

    Immediately after a fire, it is also essential to contact your insurance company and follow their instructions regarding property cleanup and securing your premises. This includes boarding up windows, covering roof openings and deterring unauthorized access and theft. Boarding up also helps to protect against additional weather damage and potential mold and mildew growth.

    It is also important to notify all impacted individuals and business associates of the fire incident. This includes employees, contractors, vendors and customers of all capacities. Notification also includes relatives and friends of the victim. This ensures that individuals and businesses can make arrangements to meet new deadlines and schedules to sustain a working relationship in the future.

    Workplace fires are a common and dangerous occurrence. Unlike home fires, workplace fires are most often caused by equipment failure or other negligence. These types of issues may occur because of inadequate maintenance, electrical problems, or simply not following proper safety protocol.

    Restaurants and bakeries are at a high risk for kitchen accidents caused by distracted employees, while factories, warehouses, and construction sites face risks from faulty machinery or other electrical malfunctions. Smoking is also a common cause of workplace fires, even in companies that have designated themselves as non-smoking.

    Even minor burns can cause severe and debilitating injuries that result in permanent complications, loss of limbs, and disfigurement. These injuries can lead to a diminished quality of life and enormous financial expenses for the victim. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the fire, the victim can file a claim for damages against any number of parties. This may include the owner of the property, if it was damaged by negligent or reckless actions. In some cases, the victim may also be entitled to punitive damages. These damages are intended to punish a defendant for particularly gross or willful negligence. In addition to damages related to the physical and psychological suffering of a burn injury, a victim might also receive compensation for lost wages and future expected income, as well as monetary payments for the loss of life’s pleasures and consortium. Contact the experienced attorneys at Shuman Legal for a consultation on your case. We can review workers’ comp, your rights to compensation and the entire process to get you a fair settlement. If you aren’t satisfied with your current settlement offer, we will fight to obtain a higher one.

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