chapter  8
24 Pages

Causes and prevention of fires and explosions

Britain in 2010/11. This was higher than the number recorded in 2009/10, though still 3 per cent lower than in 2008/09 and lower than any other year in the last two decades. Numbers of non-fatal casualties in 2010/11 stood 22 per cent lower than in 2000/01; Xu the number of dwelling fires in Britain totalled 45,000

in 2010/11 – a fall of 5 per cent since 2009/10; the majority of dwelling fires were accidental (86 per cent): 38,500 fires; Xu the main cause of accidental dwelling fires remained

the misuse of equipment/appliances (14,700 fires) while the main source of ignition was cooking appliances, which accounted for half of all accidental dwelling fires); Xu of the 306 deaths in dwellings in 2010/11, 268

(88 per cent) were from accidental causes. The main cause was careless handling of fire or hot substances (e.g. careless disposal of cigarettes), amounting to 39 per cent of all deaths due to accidental causes. The highest fatality rate was for fires that started in the living or dining room; Xu of the 8,900 non-fatal casualties in dwellings, the

largest cause of injury in accidental dwelling fires was the misuse of equipment and appliances (2,400 injuries); Xu research shows that smoke alarm ownership

increased rapidly, from 8 per cent in 1988 to 70 per cent in 1994, and has continued to rise in recent years to 86 per cent in 2008. No smoke alarm was present in 16,400 (37 per cent) of dwelling fires; Xu in 2010/11 there were 24,900 fires recorded in

buildings other than dwellings, 6 per cent fewer

For there to be fire, or combustion, there must be a source of ignition (energy in the form of heat), something to burn (combustible materials) and air (oxygen). In the workplace context, it is possible to identify and control sources of heat and combustible materials, whereas oxygen is much harder to control. Only in special circumstances are there restrictions on the presence of air or oxygen.