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MSHA Fire Prevention. How Fires Start. Fires need four elements in order to occur: Fuel Oxygen Heat Chemical Reaction. How Fires Start. Fuel: Any combustible material - solid, liquid or gas. Most solids and liquids become gas or vapor before they will burn. How Fires Start.

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How fires start
How Fires Start

  • Fires need four elements in order to occur:

    • Fuel

    • Oxygen

    • Heat

    • Chemical Reaction

How fires start1
How Fires Start

  • Fuel: Any combustible material - solid, liquid or gas. Most solids and liquids become gas or vapor before they will burn.

How fires start2
How Fires Start

  • Oxygen: The air we breathe is about 21 percent oxygen. Fire only needs 16 percent oxygen to burn.

How fires start3
How Fires Start

  • Heat: The energy that causes the fuel to produce vapors which, in turn, allows ignition to take place.

How fires start4
How Fires Start

  • Chemical Reaction: When fuel, oxygen and heat come together in the proper amounts and under the right conditions, a chemical chain reaction takes place causing rapid oxidation to occur. This rapid oxidation results in fire.

How fires start5
How Fires Start

  • Fires need four elements in order to occur:

    Take away any of these elements and fire cannot exist.

How fires are classified
How Fires are Classified

  • Class A

  • Class B

  • Class C

  • Class D

How fires are classified1
How Fires are Classified

  • Class A

    • Ordinary combustibles or fibrous material such as wood, paper, cloth, rubber and some plastics.

How fires are classified2
How Fires are Classified

  • Class B

    • Flammable liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, oil, paint, paint thinners and propane.

How fires are classified3
How Fires are Classified

  • Class C

    • Energized electrical equipment such as appliances, switches, panel boxes and power tools.

How fires are classified4
How Fires are Classified

  • Class D

    • Certain combustible metals such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium. These materials can react violently if they come in contact with ordinary extinguishing agents.

How to prevent fires
How To Prevent Fires

  • Class A - Ordinary Combustibles

    • Keep storage and working areas free of trash and unnecessary clutter.

    • Place oily rags in covered containers. Make sure the lid is replaced securely.

    • Keep combustibles and fibrous materials such as wood, paper or cloth well away from a source that could cause them to ignite.

How to prevent fires1
How To Prevent Fires

  • Class B - Flammable Liquids or Gases

    • Use flammable liquids only in well-ventilated areas.

    • Keep flammables away from any spark-producing source.

How to prevent fires2
How To Prevent Fires

  • Class B - Flammable Liquids or Gases

    • Store flammables in tightly-sealed, self-closing, spill-proof containers. Pour only what you need from storage containers.

    • Do not refuel gasoline-powered equipment while it’s still hot.

How to prevent fires3
How To Prevent Fires

  • Class C - Energized Electrical Equipment

    • Check wiring and electrical fittings for wear or damage. Report any hazardous conditions to supervisor.

    • Investigate any unusual odors coming from an electrical device.

How to prevent fires4
How To Prevent Fires

  • Class C - Energized Electrical Equipment

    • Prevent electrical equipment from overheating by keeping it clean and in good working condition.

    • Do not overload electrical outlets.

    • Never install a higher-rated fuse than what is specified for a circuit.

How to prevent fires5
How To Prevent Fires

  • Class C - Energized Electrical Equipment

    • Keep areas around electrical outlets or other spark-producing devices free of combustible materials such as paper, cloth or dust.

    • Make sure utility lights have a guard over the bulbs to prevent them from coming into direct contact with combustible materials.

How to prevent fires6
How To Prevent Fires

  • Class D - Combustible Metals

    • Handle all combustible metals, such as magnesium, potassium, titanium and sodium, in accordance with the specific guidelines provided in the manufacturer’s MSDS’s.

Fire extinguishers
Fire Extinguishers

  • Many fire extinguishers have multiple ratings:

    • BC - Class-B fires or Class-C fires

    • ABC - Class-A, Class-B or Class-C fires

Fire extinguishers1
Fire Extinguishers

  • Many fire extinguishers have multiple ratings:

    • Class A and Class B extinguishers also have a rating indicating how large a fire can be extinguished by an experienced person.

Fire extinguishers2
Fire Extinguishers

  • Many fire extinguishers have multiple ratings:

    • Class C extinguishers only have a letter rating indicating that the extinguishing agent will not conduct electricity.

Fire extinguishers3
Fire Extinguishers

  • Many fire extinguishers have multiple ratings:

    • Class D extinguishers also have only a letter rating and an indication of their effectiveness on specific metals.

Pass method of using a fire extinguisher
Pass Method of Using A Fire Extinguisher

  • P - Pull the pin.

  • A - Aim the nozzle at the base of the flames.

  • S - Squeeze the trigger while holding the extinguisher upright.

  • S - Sweep the extinguisher from side to side covering the area of the fire.

When not to fight a fire
When Not to Fight a Fire

  • Never fight a fire if:

    • The fire is spreading beyond the point where it started.

    • The flames are threatening to block your path of escape.

    • You don’t have the proper or adequate equipment to extinguish the fire.

    • If you are in any of these situations, do not fight the fire yourself. Call for help and escape immediately.

Emergency action plan
Emergency Action Plan

  • Know exactly what to do when an alarm is sounded.

  • Know the primary and secondary escape routes.

  • Proceed calmly but quickly during an evacuation.

  • Treat each drill as if it were an actual emergency.

Evacuate a burning building
Evacuate a Burning Building

  • Proceed to the nearest exit outlined in your Emergency Action Plan. Close, but do not lock, the door behind you if you are the last to leave your area.

  • Use stairs to exit to the ground floor of multi-level buildings. Never use elevators in a fire drill or emergency.

Evacuate a burning building1
Evacuate a Burning Building

  • Stay close to the floor to avoid smoke or toxic gases that may be present. If possible, cover your nose and mouth with a damp cloth to aid breathing.

  • Once you are safely outside, report immediately to a predetermined area.

If you catch on fire
If You Catch On Fire

  • STOP - DROP - and ROLL

    • Stop where you are. Do not run.

    • Drop to the ground or floor.

    • Roll around on the ground to extinguish the flames.

If trapped inside
If Trapped Inside...

  • Do not panic.

  • Try a locate a phone. Call for help and give your exact location.

  • Feel closed doors with the back of your hand before opening. If hot, do not open. Seal the cracks around door with anything available.

If trapped inside1
If Trapped Inside ...

  • Stay close to the floor to avoid smoke and toxic gases.

  • If possible, open a window to ventilate the air and to make breathing easier.

Msha requirements
MSHA Requirements

  • 56.4200(a) - In order to fight fires that could endanger people, each mine shall have: onsite fire fighting equipment for fighting fires in their early stages AND equipment for fighting fires beyond their early stages or arrangements made by the operator with a local fire department prior to having to fight a fire.

Type and quantity
Type and Quantity

  • 56.4200(b) - Onsite equipment shall be: of the type,size,and quantity that can extinguish fires of any class which may occur as the result of the hazards that are present AND be strategically located, readily accessible, plainly marked and maintained in fire-ready condition.

Equipment inspection
Equipment Inspection

  • 56.4201(a) - Equipment shall be inspected as follows:

    • fire extinguishers visually once a month (charged)

    • fire extinguishers once every 12 months (maintenance)

    • fire extinguishers once every 5 years (hydrostatic)

    • water pipes, valves, outlets, hydrants and hoses visually once every 3 months and

    • use-tested once every 12 months

    • fire suppression systems once every 12 months (functional)


  • 56.4201(b) - At the completion of each inspection or test, required by this section, the person making the inspection or test shall certify that the inspection or test has been made and the date on which it was made. Certification of hydrostatic testing shall be retained for a year or until extinguisher is re-tested or removed from service

Fire hydrants
Fire Hydrants

  • 56.4202 - IF fire hydrants are part of a mine’s fire fighting system, the hydrants shall be provided with:

    • uniform fittings/adapters

    • wrenches or keys

    • compatible adapters for connection to any fire company relied upon by the mine to respond and fight fires.

Self propelled mobile equipment
Self-Propelled Mobile Equipment

  • 56.4230(a)1 - Whenever a fire or its effects could impede escape from self-propelled equipment, a fire extinguisher shall be on the equipment.

  • 56.4230(a)2 - Whenever a fire or its effects would not impede escape from equipment BUT could affect the escape of other persons in the area, a fire extinguisher shall be kept on the equipment or within 100 feet of the equipment.

Fire suppression
Fire Suppression

  • 56.4230(b) - A fire suppression system may be used as an alternative, in place of fire extinguishers if the system can be activated manually.

  • 56.4230(c) - Fire suppression systems and fire extinguishers shall be of the type and size so that they can extinguish fires of any class in their early stages which could originate from the hazards inherent to the equipment. They shall be located to permit use by people whose escape could be impeded.

Evacuation rescue
Evacuation & Rescue

  • 56.4330(a) - Mine operators shall establish emergency fire fighting, evacuation and rescue procedures. These procedures shall be coordinated in advance with available organizations.

  • 56.4330(b) - Fire alarm procedures or systems shall be established to warn every person who could be endangered by fire.

  • 56.4330(c) - Fire alarms shall be maintained in operable condition.

Fire fighting drills
Fire Fighting Drills

  • 56.4331 - Emergency fire fighting drills shall be held at least once every six months for persons assigned fire fighting responsibilities by the mine operator.


  • 56.4401 - Fixed, unburied, flammable or combustible liquid storage tanks shall be securely mounted on firm foundations. Piping shall be provided with flexible connections or other special fittings where necessary to prevent leaks caused by tanks settling.

Storage tanks
Storage Tanks

  • 56.4430(a) - Storage tanks shall be capable of withstanding working pressures and stresses and compatible with the type of liquid stored;

  • Maintained in a manner that prevents leakage;

  • Isolated or separated from ignition sources to prevent fire or explosion; and vented or otherwise constructed to prevent development of pressure or vacuum as a result of filling, emptying, or atmospheric temperature changes. Vents for storage of Class I, II, or IIIA liquids shall be isolated or separated from ignition sources. These pressure relief requirements do not apply to tanks used for storage of Class IIIB liquids that are larger than 12,000 gallons in capacity.

Battery charging
Battery Charging

  • 56.4502(a) - Battery charging stations shall be ventilated with a sufficient volume of air to prevent the accumulation of hydrogen gas.

  • 564502(b) - Smoking or use of open flames,or any other activity that could create an ignition source shall be prohibited at the charging station during the time batteries are being charged.

  • 56.45012(C) - Readily visible signs prohibiting smoking or open flames shall be posted at stations during charging.

Conveyor belts
Conveyor Belts

  • 56.4503 - Conveyor belts, within a confined space where evacuation would be restricted in the event of a fire resulting from belt-slippage shall be equipped with a detection system capable of automatically stopping the drive pulley. A person shall attend the belt at the drive pulley when it is necessary to operate the conveyor while temporarily bypassing the automatic function.


  • 56.4600 - Fire extinguishers, appropriate for the type of hazards, shall be provided at the work site during welding, cutting, soldering, thawing or bending.

  • 56.4601 - Oxygen cylinders shall not be stored in rooms or areas used to store flammable or combustible liquids or grease.

  • 56.4602 - Gauges and regulators used with oxygen or acetylene cylinders shall be kept clean and free of oil and grease.


  • 56.4604 - Before welding, cutting, or applying heat with an open flame to pipelines or containers that have contained flammable or combustible liquids, flammable gases, or explosive solids, the pipelines or containers shall be-

  • Drained, ventilated, and thoroughly cleaned of any residue;

  • Vented to prevent pressure build up during the application of heat; and

  • Filled with an inert gas or water, where compatible; or

  • Determined to be free of flammable gases by a flammable gas detection device prior to and at frequent intervals during the application of heat.

Fire prevention means
Fire Prevention Means...

  • Be Prepared to fight fires

  • Inspect equipment on a routine basis

  • Conduct fire drills periodically

  • Report all fires lasting 30 minutes or longer to the Mine Safety and Health Administration