fire watch training is OSHA fire watch training compliant. The team should include individuals trained in fire prevention and fire department notification techniques, and who are confident in the operation of a fire extinguisher. The fire watch should have no responsibilities other than keeping a close eye on the hot work area and looking for signs of fire and checking that escape stairs, exits, alarm systems and other elements of the fire safety system remain unobstructed, working and available if needed.
Fire watch training for fire prevention
Fire is a chemical reaction of combustion, based on highly exothermic “oxidation-reduction” phenomena that are manifested by a great release of light, heat, water vapour and carbon monoxide. The flash point is the temperature at which a material catches fire. When the oxidation reaction begins, the heat that is released allows the fire to be maintained for a certain period. The amount of energy a fuel produces can be expressed by its calorific value.
The temperature and colour of the flame depending on the type of gases released during the combustion process. The wood, when burning, generates orange, red and yellow flames. Hydrocarbons, on the other hand, tend to produce bluish flames.
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An industrial fire is an uncontrolled fire that is generated in industrial environments. It is of undoubted importance since it supposes a great economic loss and high risk to life. Depending on the type of industry, a fire in your facilities can even represent a total loss, a great environmental and health problem for people. For those involved, it is important to know how to protect themselves to intervene.
The risks to people in this type of fire are very high, given that there are plenty of combustible materials and metals that could violently increase the proportions of the fire. The most common causes, in this case, are electrical failures, friction, mechanical sparks, flammable liquids, a disorder in warehouses, welding, hot surfaces, and even the imprudent consumption of cigarettes within these spaces.
Fire usually starts on a small scale, because most of them arise from small sparks due to negligence. They quickly spread if they are not extinguished causing heavy loss of lives, properties and facilities. Its effects are generally unwanted, producing personal injuries from smoke, toxic gases and high temperatures, and material damage to facilities, manufactured products and buildings.
- Personal danger (risk to individual): these are risks that expose the lives of individuals to injuries which necessitates the provision of measures to escape from danger in a fire.
- Destructive risk (properties damage risks): this is the risk of fire that affects the components and contents of the buildings, and facilities causing damage.
The tetrahedron and tringle of fire
The fire triangle and tetrahedron are two fundamental concepts for understanding fire, more specifically, how it is produced and how it spreads. This knowledge is vital when it comes to preventing and extinguishing fires.
The triangle of fire
The fire triangle represents the elements that are needed for combustion to occur. These are fuel, oxidizer (an oxidizing agent such as oxygen), and activation energy (heat).
- Fuel is any substance capable of burning. This substance can occur in a solid, liquid or gaseous state.
- The oxidizer (usually oxygen in the air) is the oxidizing component of the reaction.
- The heat or activation energy is the energy that needs to be provided so that the fuel and the oxidizer (oxygen) react in a certain time and space. And it is provided by the so-called “ignition sources”.
Fire breaks out when these factors combine in the right proportion. In the same way, by eliminating one of these factors, that is, one of the sides of the triangle, it is possible to prevent or attack a fire.
Taking this triangle into account, to prevent or stop the fire, you can act on various elements. For example, without sufficient heat, a fire cannot even start. If it does appear, it needs enough heat to propagate. To eliminate the heat factor, you can act in several ways. One of them is introducing such as water, powders or gases can also be used.
On the other hand, even if the fire appears, without fuel the fire stops. Said fuel can be eliminated naturally (consumed by the flames), or artificially. This is achieved through chemical and physical processes that prevent the fire from accessing the fuel.
Another way to attack or prevent fire is by causing insufficient oxygen, as this prevents the fire from starting and spreading.
The fire tetrahedron
The fire triangle explains how fire is produced. The fire tetrahedron is the concept that explains how said fire can propagate and have continuity. Just as it happened in the triangle of fire, in the absence of any of the tetrahedron elements, the fire is extinguished.
As we said, the chain reaction is the factor that allows the reaction to progress and is maintained once it has started. The chain reaction of combustion occurs when the fire gives off heat, which is transmitted to the fuel, feeding it back and continuing combustion.
Thus, the fire tetrahedron works like this: For a fire to occur and protect itself, enough heat must be generated to vaporize part of the fuel and ignite the vapour that is mixed with oxygen. For combustion to continue, the fire itself must generate enough heat to vaporize even more fuel so that it remixes with oxygen and ignites.
In addition, it is considered necessary for the production of the flame, the existence of chain reactions caused by the auto-ignition of the gases released by the fuel, which in turn generate new gases that ignite again when heated, repeating the process.
The latter, together with the three factors previously mentioned, form what is called the tetrahedron of fire.
What are the 3 ways that a fire is transmitted?
The heat produced in combustion spreads in three ways:
- Radiation: Continuous emission of heat through waves. It is the heat emitted by a body due to its temperature, in this case, there is no contact between the bodies, nor intermediate fluids that transport heat. Simply by existing a body A (solid or liquid) at a higher temperature than body B there will be a transfer of heat by radiation from A to B.
- Conduction: It is the easiest to understand, it consists of the transfer of heat between two points of a body at different temperatures without the transfer of matter between them.
- Convection: In this heat transfer system, a moving fluid (gas or liquid) is involved that transports thermal energy between two areas. The transmission of heat by convection can be:
- Forced: through a fan (air) or pump (water) the fluid moves through a hot area and transports the heat to the cold area.
- Natural: the fluid itself extracts heat from the hot area and changes its density causing it to move towards the colder area where it gives up its heat.
Fire classes and extinguishing agent
|A||SOLIDS: Wood, paper, carbon, fabrics, plastics.|
|D||METALS: Aluminum, sodium, titanium, inorganic chemicals|
Fire is classified into different types, depending on the fuel or material in which it originates. The most common are type A, B and C, with solid, liquid or gaseous fuels. Others, such as type D (metals) or type F, are used to classify kitchen fires.
In the same way that not all fires are the same, neither are the extinguishing agents to combat them.
- Water extinguisher: it is suitable for class ‘A’ fires. You should never use it if there is an electrical current in place since electrocution can occur.
- Foam extinguisher: you can use it to combat types B and F.
- CO2: for type electric fires. This appliance extinguishes by suffocation, although indoors there may be some risk by displacing oxygen. If there is wind, it may lose some effectiveness. Like the powder one, it does not conduct electricity, so you can use it if there is an electric current.
- ABC Powder Fire Extinguishers: used on type ABC fires. This powder does not conduct electricity, so it is suitable where there is an electrical fire.
- Spray water: usually used on class A and B fires.
- Fire extinguisher for metals: type D. This is a specific extinguisher for fires involving metals, such as sodium or magnesium.
Leading cause of industrial fires
Fires are one of the main security threats in the industrial sector. If adequate measures are not taken to prevent them, the risk of this incident occurring and getting out of control increases considerably. Therefore, it is essential to know what are the major causes of fires in warehouses and plants.
Fires in the industrial sector are usually the result of:
- Surface heating: Industrial fires can also start from heat escaping from boilers, furnaces, and high-temperature water and steam pipes. Each surface has a certain specific ignition temperature. Therefore, it is essential to avoid exposing them to excessive heat sources.
- Spark exhaust: Chimneys, incinerators, and smelters release glowing particles that can start fires when they land on dry grass, trash piles, or flammable building structures.
- Exposure to open flames: The main culprits in this kind of fire are heat pumps and industrial burners. To avoid accidents, precautions must be taken when handling them and ensure that they receive regular maintenance. This is especially true when it comes to portable equipment, the use of which is not limited exclusively to a specific area of industrial buildings or factories.
- Electrical failures: They are due to short circuits that are the result of faulty wiring, broken switches, electrical consumption above the supported capacity, excess derivations in the line, and electrical equipment in poor condition.
- Lack of housekeeping protocols and poor waste disposal: Rags impregnated with oil, grease and hydrocarbons must be stored properly in a closed metal container with a lid. For its part, industrial waste must be disposed of as soon as possible.
- The friction of the moving parts of a machine: When a work tool or machinery is not properly lubricated or aligned, the parts rub excessively together. As a result, overheating and sparks occur. And this, in turn, is a potential fire trigger.
- Improper handling of flammable liquids: Light solvents and gasoline vaporize at any temperature and their vapours can easily catch fire. The same can be said of thinners and insecticides. Storing these products in inappropriate containers and places constitutes a great danger.
Hot work fire watch training
Hot work is all that involves the act of burning, welding or carrying out another similar operation with the capacity to start fires or explosions; in other words, an activity that involves flame, heat, or the generation of sparks. Welding and other similar processes include arc welding, gas welding, open flame soldering, brazing, thermal spraying, flame cutting, and arc cutting.
For safe hot work, these fires can be prevented. The risk in hot work is high because a hazard is introduced—an ignition source. That is why the first safety recommendation is to determine if there is an alternative for hot work and avoiding hot work minimizes the risk. What are hot jobs?
- Work that includes burning, welding, or similar operations capable of causing fires or explosions.
- Activity involving flame, sparking, or heat.
- Welding and related processes include electric arc welding, oxy-acetylene cutting, open flame welding, brazing, thermal spraying, oxygen cutting, and electric arc cutting.
fire watch requirements of hot work
Use the “Recognize, Evaluate, and Control” Process
One process for reducing hot work hazards is called “Recognize, Assess and Control”. This process is covered in NFPA 51B and focuses on the following:
- Recognize – Determine if fire hazards exist before beginning hot work.
- Assess – Determine if hazards exist, especially hazards that could fuel a fire (flammable and combustible liquids or gases and simple combustibles).
- Control – Take the necessary measures to eliminate or minimize the hazards.
The hot work permit authorizes the fire watch to recognize potential hazards. Areas can be protected by the use of fire hoses, and blankets, by cleaning up combustible materials within a 35-foot (11-meter) radius of the hot workspace, or by moving hot work to an area free of combustible materials. Identify alternatives for hot work such as:
- Pipe bolted, flanged, or fixed
- Manual hydraulic shears
- Cold cutting and fixing with mechanical screws
- Fasteners activated by compressed air
- Use of pneumatic tools
Method of extinguishing fires (extinguishing theory)
The fire extinguishing theory depends on reducing the interaction of one or more of the three aforementioned factors that cause the fire.
Cooling the fire
It means reducing the burning material’s temperature by using water thrown on the fire. This method depends mainly on the ability of water to absorb the heat of the material in which the fire is burning.
Smothering the fire
The fire is suffocated by covering it with a barrier that prevents air oxygen from reaching it by closing the outlets and ventilation opening in the fireplace to reduce the proportion of oxygen in the air to a ratio that does not allow continued ignition. Or by covering the burning material with chemical foams, or by replacing the oxygen with water vapour or carbon dioxide or dry chemical powders or fumes of halogens.
Fire starvation is done by limiting the number of flammable materials by transporting the goods and materials available at the place of the fire away from the influence of heat and flame such as:
- Withdrawing flammable liquids from the tanks in which the fire is located.
- Moving goods from inside the warehouses exposed them to the risk and heat of the fire.
- Removing flammable cotton bales from inside the storage place to another place that does not expose the dangers of the neighbouring area.
What are the step by step actions to be taken in case of fire
A fire watch who discovers the fire can do:
- Minimum three times shout “fire – fire – fire”
- Stop the work and evacuate the people from the area.
- Breaks the fire alarm glass to turn it on
- To immediately call the emergency contact number
- Fight a fire if possible by using the nearest extinguisher suitable for the type of fire. Make sure the place you are standing does not pose a danger to you and that you can escape if the fire spreads. Do not stand facing the wind while fighting the fire so as not to endanger yourself.
What to do when hearing a fire alarm
- Stop work immediately
- Cut off the power immediately
- Do not use the elevator in case of a fire
- Leave the building through the emergency exit closest to your location
- Close all doors behind you
- Head to the nearest assembly point
- Do not take risks, risk your life, and do not return to the building for whatever reason s, except after being authorized to do so by in charge
Hot work fire watch responsibilities
- The afire watch is assigned to protect other workers and property from harm during hot work. Hot work includes any activity involving welding, cutting, burning, grinding or the use of powder-actuated tools or similar spark-producing operations.
- You are alert for any sparks, open fires, or other fire hazards and are prepared to provide an initial response to a potential fire.
- Has a portable extinguisher or fire hose within easy reach and is adequately trained in its use.
- Works with the hot work to ensure safe conditions are maintained during and after the job.
- Has the authority to stop work if dangerous conditions arise.
- You are familiar with the location of the fire alarms in the building and the emergency notification procedures.
- Stay alert and be responsible for actively preventing and fighting fires in their incipient stage.
- Do not perform other tasks in combination with your fire watch activities while the hot work is in progress (29 CFR 1915.504(c)).
- Make sure you can Communicate with workers in the area of hot work.
- Do not leave the hot work area during breaks or interruptions or at the end of the work shift work, unless properly relieved.
- Continue with fire watch duties at least 30 minutes after completing the hot work, unless released by your employer after a site inspection (29 CFR 1915.504 (c)(2)(iv)).
- Shut down any hot work activities that are considered unsafe and take action appropriate to restore and maintain the safety conditions.
INSPECTION OF PORTABLE FIRE EXTINGUISHER
- Identify the type of fire extinguisher
- Physical/visual inspection
- Check that cylinder is fully charged or pressurized through the pressure Gauge’s indication.
- Check whether a safety/locking pin is intact or not.
- Check the hose or nozzle for signs of wear & tear or crack.
- Check the monthly inspection sticker and colour code
What does a fire watch person do
Before commencing hot work, the fire watch must carefully inspect the area to understand the scope of the work to be performed, and surrounding hazards and to verify that all appropriate precautions are being taken. The following aspects should be evaluated:
- A detailed description of the task to be carried out.
- Clarify exactly which areas and equipment will be affected by the work.
- Identify the workers who will perform the work.
- Evaluate all possible hazards that could be related to the work.
- Check all the electrical tools and cables that will be used during the work and confirm that the cutting and welding equipment is in good condition.
- Verify that there are portable fire extinguishers or fire hoses on site and that they are in good condition.
- Verify that all combustible materials, including flammable liquids, sawdust, oil residues, cotton fibres, and any other combustible materials, within a 35-foot (11-meter) radius of the work area, have been removed.
- Verify that combustible materials that cannot be removed are covered with fire-resistant blankets.
- Make sure floors have been swept and are free of combustible materials.
- If hot work is done near walls, internal partitions, ceilings, or ceilings made of combustible materials, these must be protected with fire-resistant blankets.
- If there is a possibility that flammable liquids or vapours cannot be completely removed, continuous monitoring with a calibrated portable gas detector should be performed in areas where such vapours may be present. When continuous gas monitoring is not available, the lower explosive limit readings will be recorded at least every 2 hours.
Verification of the environment:
- Verification of the presence of manholes, trenches, drains and/or drains present in the work area.
- Cooling of the work area by using a pressurized hose.
- Review and placement in a visible area of the work permit.
- Placement of fireproof fabrics and blankets in the hot work area to prevent sparks from coming out.
PASS – Your way to safety
This is something fire watch should know. All employees must be able to operate a fire extinguisher using the PASS method:
- Pull out the plug;
- Aim at the base of the flames;
- Squeeze the lever and
- Spread from one side to the other.
Fire Prevention Practices
As in medicine, the best cure is prevention. Why wait for a fire to start? Establish fire safety measures, such as no smoking in fire-prone areas, avoiding overloading of electrical wires, checking broken electrical equipment, etc. In general, fire prevention involves depriving the fire of any of its three sources: fuel, oxygen, and heat. Eliminating them can nip any fire at its root.
Learn about the emergency action plan
A role in fighting fires isn’t your job. When there’s a big fire, don’t be a one-man army. Contact the emergency number at the same time. Just be familiar enough with your Emergency Action Plan. So that you should not panic and know what to do. Make sure you know the method of Rescue – Alarm – Safety – Extinguishing / Evacuate.
Fire watch training quiz
Q -1: What is fire?
Q – 2: What is the classification of fire?
Q – 3: What is a fire triangle?
Q – 4: What are the common causes of fire?
Q – 5: What is ensured by a fire watch before hot work?
Q – 6: How many types of fire?
Q – 7: How do you operate a fire extinguisher? or what is a PASS system?
Q – 8: Why is not water allowed on electrical fire?
Q – 9: Why dry chemical powder is not allowed on fire in electrical devices or panels?
Q – 10: How to report if a fire occurred in your location from a manual call point?
Q – 11: What to do after hearing an emergency alarm?
Q – 12: What is the assembly point?
Q – 13: What are the responsibilities of a fire watch?
Q – 14: What is the precaution if hot work near a catch pit?
Q – 15: Why hot work area should be covered with a fire blanket?
Q – 16: What is the use of a fire hose?
Q – 17: How will you know the gas detector is operational?
Q – 18: If the LEL reading indicates 5% what will you do?
Q – 19: Why fire watch should be trained?
Q – 20: What is head counting?
Fires caused by hot work tasks cause deaths, injuries and the loss of millions of dollars in property damage, all of which could be prevented. If all those involved follow the safety measures indicated for this work, these fires are avoidable. In hot work, the risk is high because it introduces a hazard (an ignition source) into environments that contain oxygen and often one or more flammable combustibles. The main safety recommendations to minimize the hazards of hot work include the use of the process called “Recognize, Evaluate and Control” and the search for a possible alternative method to hot work.