45 things you need to know about fire

Fire extinguisher

Fire’s a necessity for modern day society. But it’s also incredibly dangerous. So, to help clue you up on some of its facts, stats and regulatory requirements, we’ve pulled together a list of 45 quick-fire (no pun intended!) things you need to know about.

  1. Fire requires oxygen, an ignition point and fuel to light – which is why the latter two should be stored far apart!
  2. The three most common types of fuel that lead to fire are coal, oil and wood
  3. Flames come in different colours – white, red, yellow, orange, green, blue, violet and peach, and each colour symbolises a different type of fire
  4. Flames from a candle alone typically burn at 1,000 degrees Celsius
  5. There are four different types of fire extinguishers – water, C02, foam and dry chemical, and different businesses may require different forms
  6. If you starve a fire of oxygen it‘ll go out by itself
  7. Alternatively, removing or exhausting the fuel source that caused the fire will put it out too
  8. Throwing water over most fires will put it out – but not if it’s an electrical or fat fire
  9. A typical house fire doubles in size every minute
  10. The more oxygen, the hotter the fire


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  1. The hottest fire you’re likely to encounter is that of a welding torch, which burns at 5,500 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. If a fire has a low supply of oxygen it will be yellow
  3. High oxygen fires are blue
  4. If cotton’s attached to super glue, it’ll catch on fire
  5. Forest fires travel faster uphill than downhill
  6. Spontaneous combustion is a real thing, and it happens because some fuel sources create their own heat by rotting
  7. Most uncontrolled fires are caused by cigarettes or candles
  8. Flames don’t cast shadows
  9. Christmas is one of the worst times of the year for fires because of all the lights, candles and decorations that’re about
  10. It’s compulsory to have a means of alarm on every floor of your business
  11. Every building/business must have a suitable and up-to-date fire risk assessment in place
  12. Fire alarms should be tested every week to make sure they sound as they should
  13. As well as weekly checks, fire alarms should be maintained every six months
  14. Every single employee must receive fire safety training
  15. If you’re expecting visitors, they should be told about fire safety before entering your premises
  16. Fire drills should be conducted at least every six months
  17. You should have a special procedure in place for evacuating disabled visitors and employees (otherwise known as PEEPs)
  18. Some, but not all, incidents involving fire are reportable under RIDDOR
  19. You should regularly check the condition of your fire doors, because some last longer than others
  20. Fire alarms don’t always have to make a sound – some might have a light beacon, or it might be a vibrating pillow, for example
  21. Businesses that hold certain types and amounts of hazardous substances must complete a DSEAR assessment (Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres) as well as a fire risk assessment
  22. In most cases, it takes less than 30 seconds for a fire to become difficult to control
  23. More people die from smoke inhalation than contact with the fire itself
  24. Most residential fires start in the kitchen
  25. In commercially operated buildings, arson’s the main driver behind fire deaths and injuries
  26. On average, one quarter of all household fire fatalities happen because people are trapped while asleep
  27. There are at least 20 irritant substances found in smoke, and the effects of these on people’s eyes, nose and throat can severely impair their ability to escape
  28. Most electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets and old, outdated appliances
  29. In 2017 alone, the fire response service attended 563,527 fire incidents
  30. There were almost a quarter of a million (223,383) false alarms in 2017
  31. The number of fire-related fatalities has been on a downward trend since 1981-82
  32. In 2017, there were 321 fire-related fatalities – 71 of which were from Grenfell
  33. 3,264 is the number of non-fatal fire casualties that required hospital treatment in 2017
  34. The number of outdoor fires increased by 8% between 2016 and 2017
  35. Conversely, building fires decreased by 3% between 2016 and 2017.

Help is at hand

When it comes to keeping fire-safe, we’ve got you covered from every angle. Our industry-leading Fire Risk Assessments, Fire Alarm Servicing, Fire Extinguisher Servicing and Emergency Lighting Testing will provide you with peace of mind that your business, employees and visitors are safe, and that you’re on the right side of the law.

To find out more about what we have to offer, get in touch with our dedicated Additional Services Team on 0345 241 5250 or contact them using the form on this page


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