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GABES Fire Trivia - Part 1

What is fire?

Fire is actually a strong oxidation reaction of a substance during combustion.

Take a lit candle as an example. The wax of a candle is composed of hydrocarbon molecules. When the wax is heated and burned, the hydrocarbon molecules break down into carbon and hydrogen atoms in the form of gas. This decomposition process is called pyrolysis .

When carbon and hydrogen atoms come into contact with oxygen, heat is generated, so there is enough heat to keep the candle burning . This process of heat generation by continuous contact with oxygen is called oxidation.

When the flame burns, convection occurs, by which heat is transferred through the air .

For instance, the heat generated by the candle flame will increase the temperature of the adjacent air, while the hot air rises. At the same time, the cold air is constantly approaching the bottom of the flame, replacing the hot air that has risen. The cold air is heated , turned into hot air and subsequently rises. The steps repeat and form the convection effect.

Therefore, when a fire occurs, choosing the correct and fastest escape route is very important ️ because the oxidation reaction of the flame will continuously consume oxygen. The slightest delay in the escape time may lead to hypoxia (insufficiency of oxygen).

During an evacuation, if you find that the smoke is dense and the ambient temperature is high, remember to escape by crouching or crawling! Even if it is only half a meter of vertical separation, the difference in carbon monoxide concentration can be very large️