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Fire chemistry can be reversed by one or more or the following mechanisms. In many fire situations, the use of more than one of these mechanisms may be listed:Physical separation of the flame from the burning entity "Smothering"If there is insufficient oxygen or air to support combustion, the fire goes out. Thus, covering the burning material with an airtight lid puts out the fire, by removing the air from the combustion process. Temperature reduction Chemical modificationCertain chemical elements, such as chlorine and bromine, will not burn, but rather react with the chemical reaction that takes place when something burns. However, their chemical reaction is one that interferes with the chemical reaction we call fire, eliminating the ability for the materials to burn. This is the basis for clean agent suppression materials.
One must remember that not all fires are always extinguishedIn some cases, it may be more hazardous to extinguish the fire. For example, if a propane tanker were to roll over in an accident, and a small leak occurs and ignites at the tank's relief valve, as long as there is no present exposure danger, it may be in everyone's best interest to allow the propane to burn off, under the guidance of fire officials. They may well have all of the tools to put the fire out, but may rather lay a hose line on the area of the tank where the leak is burning without putting it out. by the "tools" or methods in use today. For example, sprinkler systems are either designed for control or extinguishment. There are physical reasons – shape of fuel, shielding, etc. – that may make it impossible to completely extinguish a fire using only automatic sprinklers.
A word about smothering a fire with water...
© Hughes Associates,Inc. 2012