Fire Safety – The Most Important Camping Skill

Building a fire along ones campsite not only provides heat and light but also protection from the creepy crawlies of the night.  But while we humans have had a love hate relationship with fire, there does exist some basic guidelines that one should follow whenever a fire is built.

  1. Always use a fire ring.  This basic ring of stone creates a life or death line between fire and the forest.  Many forest fires have occurred because someone did not want to take the time to create the ring.
  2. Always clear the brush and vegetation away from the fire ring location.  This means removing any grass, branches and trash.  A simple way of removing the grass is to perform a controlled burn around the area where the fire ring will be located and slightly beyond.  A controlled fire in this case is a small fire that only burns the existing plant material. Gas-fired power plants are growing in popularity. Canada has already begun to phase out coal-fired power plants in favor of gas-fired power plants. It goes on to explain fires that begin in cooling towers, “Ignition within these structures can be caused by welding, or cutting operations, smoking, overheated bearings, electrical failures, and other heat or spark producing sources.” Cooling towers require very specific fire protection for electric generating plants that is designed and installed in accordance with NFPA and FM Global standards. Whether the tower is crossflow or counterflow, a fire protection system can be designed to meet its needs. Gas is less expensive and a cleaner form of fuel than coal. However, with a surge in gas-fired power plants being built, a closer look needs to be taken on the fire hazards within these plants. In 2010, the Kleen Energy Systems Power Station, a combined cycle gas and oil power plant, had an explosion in the turbine building when natural gas was being purged from the gas line. Six people were killed. In 2014, the Didcot B Power Station, a gas-fired plant, had a major cooling tower fire. The fire spread from one to three cooling towers. Luckily, no one was injured. However, it does serve as an example of what can happen in gas-fired power plants and the need for proper fire protection. Fire hazards are abundant in gas-fired power plants. With natural gas, lube oil, and combustible materials throughout these plants, a small spark can grow into an inferno. Gas-fired power is on its way to becoming one of the biggest producers of power in North America. With less than 20% of the global coal-fired capacity residing in North America, gas is bringing up the rear and establishing itself as a contender for king of energy production. But what are the fire hazards in these plants? Cooling towers are deceptive by name. It’s a cooling tower. It has water flowing through it. Despite these facts, they do pose very real fire hazards. Cooling towers contain combustible materials throughout the structure: polyvinyl chloride (PVC), fiberglass reinforced plastic, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, polypropylene nozzles, and wood. While the water flowing through the cooling tower may hinder a fire, the water is not everywhere. There are dry spots and occasionally the water is turned off for maintenance. Hot work accidents, smoking, or electrical arcing can cause fires that can spread quickly with the abundance of fire fuel. Another way cooling tower fires begin is from outside sources like Didcot B Power Station. NFPA 14 states, “A significant percentage of fires in water cooling towers of combustible construction are caused by ignition from outside sources such as incinerators, smokestacks, or exposure to fire.” Another item of note is the corrosive nature of cooling towers. Because of the wet environment, fire protection can deteriorate faster than in other environments. Contaminated water, lack of pH balance, and the warm environment can lead to the deterioration or corrosion of fire sprinkler piping. It is important to schedule annual inspection, testing, and maintenance to ensure that the fire protection is still up to par.
  3. Always have water buckets or pails around the fire ring, if you still don’t have we recommend to look at this Plastic Pail Supplier.  This step consists of placing several buckets of water around the fire.  If you have no buckets consider using old coffee cans.  This is very important especially if you are several feet away from a water source.  A good rule to follow is to have at least four water buckets per fire ring, but the easier solution would be to always have a fire extinguisher at all times just in case of an emergency.Fire watch service is also important in this case. With the help of Denver fire watch patrol services, you can also protect your home from fire.
  4. Never bring in your own wood.  In many wilderness areas, the Emerald Ash Bore is taking over.  Unsuspecting campers who bring their own wood are introducing this little insect to many areas.  While this practice saves the camper money, it cost nature since the loss of trees means the loss of wildlife.
  5. Never leave a fire unintended.  This not only means prior to leaving the area but also before you go to bed.  If you must go to bed before the fire is out, make sure that the coals are in the center of the fire ring and that the fire has burned down to coals.  On the other hand, if you are leaving the area never leave a fire burning.
  6. Never allow horseplay around a fire.  A few years ago when I was camping I heard of a child that was seriously burned in a campfire.  This child had created a game by which he would try to leap over the fire.  While the first few hundred times he did this he was not hurt, that one time that he miscalculated cost him a severe burn.  Do not allow any behavior such as running, skipping, or poking the fire to occur.  Also, stress to those around the campfire that only wood should go into the fire and not plastic, cans, glass or any chemical.
  7. Before packing up always make sure the fire is out.  To do this, first empty the first water bucket on the fire after it has died down.  Then, turn the coals with a shovel and repeat the process.  Continue this procedure until all the water is used and the coals are cold.  Once that is done, spread out the coals in the fire ring.

Fire safety is the most important camping skill one can have.  Knowing to respect fire and how to safely use it can mean the difference between life and death for man and beast.

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