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Fire Fighting.

Byline: Qayyum Pervez Malik

Hazards prevention, management and control are the key factors and play vital role in assessing and managing the risk in the context of Insurance coverage. Fire fighting arrangements at the Insured's premises then play an important role in assessing the risk, providing appropriate coverage at appropriate rate of premium with application of appropriate set of conditions/warranties. Information regarding fire fighting apparatus, mechanism, management and information on account of classification of fire incidents is essential input to evaluate all this. Primarily an underwriter and then a surveyors/loss adjuster have sufficient information to deal with the relevant subject. Some basic information related to this subject is being given in this article to provide basic information about the basic concepts for the officials concerned.

A standard warranty form is being attached with fire insurance policy against cotton ginning and pressing factories imposing arrangement of minimum fire fighting requirements as under:

- 25000 Gallons of water storage.

- 3 Nos. hose pipes of 100 feet length each.

- Water pump with capacity of 250 gallons per minute.

In case of non-compliance the Insured/claimant is liable to suffer 25% deduction out of their claim.

This type of warranties is also attached with other policies but that are not of standard form and different insurers attach different warranties in that respect.

From all above the need to maintain a local fire fighting system is made essential. It is also required by the rules/regulations of Civil defense as well as the Mortgagees banks.

Above all the local fire fighting arrangements for any industry is in their own interest as the factor of controlling the fire immediately after origination is very important.

Classes of Fires

Class A fires are for ordinary combustible materials such as papers, wood, cardboard, cotton, building material, machinery, stocks etc. The numerical rating on these types of extinguishers indicates the amount of water it holds and the amount of fire it can extinguish.

Geometric symbol is green triangle.

Class B fires deals in flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, grease and oil. The numerical rating for class Bextinguishers indicates t h e approximate number of square feet of fire it can extinguish.

Geometric symbol is red square.

Class C fires involve electrical equipment, such as appliances, wiring, electrical equipments, motors, switches, starters, circuit breakers and outlets where water can never be used to extinguish class C fires - because of the risk of electrical shock. Extinguishers do not have a numerical rating. The C classification means the extinguishing agent is non-conductive.

Geometric symbol is blue circle.

Class D fires include fires of chemical laboratory. They are for fires that involve combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium. These types of extinguishers also have no numerical rating, nor are they given a multi-purpose rating - they are designed for class D fires only.

Geometric symbol is Yellow Decagon.

Class K fire are for fires that involve Ghee, cooking oils, trans-fats, or fats in cooking appliances and are typically found in hotels, restaurant and kitchens.

Geometric symbol is black hexagon.

Type of Fire Extinguishers

Water extinguishers or APW extinguishers (air-pressurized water) are suitable for class A fires only. Never use a water extinguisher on grease fires, electrical fires or class D fires - the flames will spread and make the fire bigger! Water extinguishers are filled with water and are typically pressurized with air. Again - water extinguishers can be very dangerous in the wrong type of situation. Only fight the fire if you're certain it contains ordinary combustible materials only. Dry chemical extinguishers come in a variety of types and are suitable for a combination of class A, B and C fires. These are filled with foam or powder and pressurized with nitrogen. BC - This is the regular type of dry chemical extinguisher. It is filled with sodium bicarbonate or potassium bicarbonate. The BC variety leaves a mildly corrosive residue which must be cleaned immediately to prevent any damage to materials. ABC - This is the multipurpose dry chemical extinguisher.

The ABC type is filled with mono ammonium phosphate, a yellow powder that leaves a sticky residue that may be damaging to electrical appliances such as a computer.

How to use Fire Portable Chemical Extinguisher

Pull up the pin at the top of the extinguisher. The pin releases a locking mechanism and will allow you to discharge the extinguisher.

Aim at the base of the fire, not the flames. This is important - in order to put out the fire, you must extinguish the fuel. Squeeze the lever slowly. This will release the extinguishing agent in the extinguisher. If the handle is released, the discharge will stop. Sweep from side to side. Using a sweeping motion, move the fire extinguisher back and forth until the fire is completely out. Operate the extinguisher from a safe distance, several feet away, and then move towards the fire once it starts to diminish. Be sure to read the instructions on your fire extinguisher - different fire extinguishers recommend operating them from different distances. Remember: Aim at the base of the fire, not at the flames.

Fire Strykers

The image of fire stryker is given below for quick reference. It is small hand held chemical fire extinguisher which can be used to arrest fire immediately on origination or used on small scale fires i.e. kitchen, car, room fires etc.

Function of Fire Extinguishers

The basic function of fire extinguishers are as under:

- Bringing down the temperature by cooling effect.

- Reducing the Oxygen to die the burning process/flame.

So mostly and commonly used fire extinguisher is water. The 2nd most useful fire extinguishing agent is CO2 (Carbon dioxide) which reduces the Oxygen level from the fire scene through chemical process which is consequently helpful to combat the fire. The other fire extinguishing agents are used to form a dry powder and foam for particular type/class of fire in terms of type of material on fire.

For example in case of electrical appliances/wiring/gadgets fire wet or conductive agents cannot be used. One needs to use dry and non-conductive agents for that matter. Similarly some type of stocks can suffer more damage through water used to extinguish the fire rather than fire itself so wet/water based extinguishers cannot be used there. All above categories of fire extinguishers are of portable extinguishers class for small fire incidents and/or to arrest the fire at primary stage to arrest it from spreading.

Guideline Chart

The following chart gives a quick guide line for using portable fire extinguishers against each class of fire.

Heavy Duty Fire Tenders for Large Scale Fire Incidents

Otherwise for big fire incidents heavy duty fire tenders, fire brigades, automatic/manual water sprinklers with the smoke, heat detecting systems are provided.

A large number of classes of fire tenders are available suit to different classes of fires. The key factors which differentiate one tender from others are as under:

- Water carrying capacity.

- Foam carrying capacity.

- Water/foam discharge output rate of pumps.

- Water/foam suction input rate of pumps.

- Length of hose reels.

- Dia of hose reels.

- Capacity and provision of equipments/accessories e.g. ladders, nozzles, fire proof uniform etc.

- Carrying capacity varies with an average of 5000 litters.

- Output discharge/suction capability is available between 1000 LPM to 4000 LPM.

- Water discharge hose reels varies from 50 to 100 feet.

- Direct Foam and water discharge Nozzle guns are also available.

So mostly foam and water carrying fire tenders are in use.

Water / Sand Buckets

Water and sand filled buckets are made available near the stock areas, godown/warehouse walls, process halls, machinery and store rooms, boilers, offices etc which are used as a first aid.

Sprinkler System

Such automatic water sprinkler system is installed mostly in large warehouses, godowns, stores etc. It is very effective fire fighting system. There are so many specialists companies who offer such services in Pakistan.

For stocks in open compounds a ground based water sprinkler system may be helpful at low cost. It can be better understood from the following picture.

Heat, smoke and flame detectors make this sprinkler system so efficient in order to control the fire immediately after origination.

To be Continued....
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Publication:Insurance Journal
Date:Dec 31, 2016
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