Fire Behavior- Introduction to Fire Suppression
This self-paced online training course covers basic concepts about fire, with a focus on fire sprinkler
and fire alarm systems. Fire is a very complex physical phenomenon. The effect that is called
"burning" is the result of many physical and chemical interactions.
Upon completion you should be able to:
- Explain why fire is a process and define ignition
- Explain the relationship between lean and rich flammable vapors
- List the people who should be present at a fire pump acceptance test
- Explain the "fire triangle"
- Discuss the relationship between fire plumes and ceiling jets, and explain the importance of
- Define and explain key concepts, including British thermal unit (BTU), latent heat of
vaporization, specific heat, exothermic reaction, endothermic reaction, physical fire separation,
smothering, chemical modification, and dilution
- List and explain the three methods of heat transfer
- Explain how various substances function as fire suppression agents
- Explain the difference in high expansion and blanketing foams
Who Will Benefit
Anyone whose job involves designing, reviewing, evaluating or installing fire protection
systems, including: designers, installers, engineers, electrical contractors, technicians,
project managers, fire marshals, and architects.
Minimum Computer System Requirements
- In order to understand the details of sprinkler protection, it is imperative that people
working in the field have a basic understanding of some of the principles of fire science and
behavior and how they affect suppression.
- Fire is a complex reaction that is based in chemistry and follows the laws of physics.
Thermodynamics is a big part of fire spread. To be able to suppress or control a fire may well
require the knowledge of fire chemistry and the understanding of some basic laws of physics. The
most basic of these laws is that mass absorbs energy. This principle, coupled with the fact that
fire burns on surfaces, explains why some objects burn so readily.
- Ignition can't take place unless the fuel is correct, the proper amount of air is
present, and an energy source of sufficient size is available. Once these elements are in place,
combustion begins, and a complex and ever-changing chemical chain reaction is sustained. To
eliminate a fire requires the removal or reduction of one of the four elements. This can be done
by cooling, smothering, or changing the chemical composition of the fire reaction. Different
agents will affect one of these mechanisms to cause suppression.
- Fire is either exothermic (releases heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat). Heat from a fire
is transferred through conduction, convection, or radiation, and many times in a fire, all three
vehicles are being used at the same time.
- In a fire, heat rises in a buoyant energy wave known as a fire plume. The velocity is
dependent on the fire growth, and when a horizontal barrier is in place, the plume of energy
spreads out in all directions along the horizontal barrier to become a ceiling jet. The plume
and jet carry the products of combustion to objects, such as fixtures on the ceiling, but also
to sprinklers and detectors.
- Probably the most effective agent in suppression is steam. Steam is derived from the
water spray absorbing heat and increases the ability of water to absorb additional heat through
the effect of expansion, allowing additional surface area to impact the heat of the fire.
Continuing Education Units (CEU):
Expected Duration (hours):