The fire triangle is a model which is use to explain the concept of fire generation. As a triangle has three (3) sides, the fire triangle uses the three (3) sides to display the three (3) basic elements required to start a fire.
The fire triangle concept do not just help in understanding the basic elements for fire generation, it also guide in the process of fire extinguishing.
The three elements of the fire triangle are:
- Oxygen: This represents air which is available everywhere
- Fuel: This represents anything that can burn, including cloths, paper, wood, oil, LPG, fat, etc. This fuel can be solid, liquid or gas.
How the fire triangle can help in fire prevention and extinguishing
When the three elements of the fire triangle are available and combine in the right mixture, fire must ensue. Also, if one of the elements is removes, fire is extinguished.
For instance if there is fire breakout and we need to extinguish it, we just need to remove one element of the fire triangle thus:
- Oxygen can be removed by the process of smothering (Cutting off oxygen supply by covering the fire)
- Fuel can be removed through the process of starvation; clearing the area of all available fuel. When the fire burns up the available fuel, it ceases naturally.
- Heat can be removed by cooling using water.
As soon as one component is removed, the fire cannot continue. This is the basic concept for fire prevention and extinguishing.