All posts by Eva Kormann

Corona and the fire risks

 

Now we all have a difficult time to get through at the moment. The Corona virus has taken full control of the world.

 

We are being asked to stay at home if possible. Families work from homes, the children are not allowed to go to school or kindergarten or daycare – life takes place in the house or apartment.

 

This is not easy for any of us – and we could notice that there have been a few more fires.

The Institute for Damage Prevention and Research has provided a diagram for 2019.

 

Fire cause statistics 2019

 

As can be seen, in more than half of all cases human misconduct and electricity are the causes of the fires.

 

The most common causes of fire are:

 

Pots or pans left on the stove 

Who does not know this – you are cooking and the children have done something in high spirits or out of boredom. Already you forget the kitchen and take care of the aches and pains or try to prevent damage. Or a good thought for work comes to mind and you sit down at your workplace at home “just for a moment” – and cooking is a secondary matter. In the present time the danger is naturally much larger, because house or dwelling developed to a combined work, – cook, – child care, – resting place.

So please take care to keep your pans and pots under control. Flames that flare up from the stove can quickly spread to other kitchen furniture via poorly cleaned extractor hoods.

 

Electrical appliances, be it a television or a computer, run hot

Individual components can overheat during prolonged use and may tend to form flames, which may be the cause of a fire.  If components, such as batteries, become too hot, the plastic that surrounds the unit will begin to burn. And since we are forced to work much longer and more intensively with our electrical devices at home, the risk of fire increases there as well.

 

Please check the temperature from time to time and then allow your electrical appliances appropriate “cooling breaks”.

 

And last but not least a request: If you have the opportunity to escape “house arrest” and can go for a walk in a nearby forest, please watch out for possible smoke signals and under no circumstances smoke in the forest!

Because: That’s how high the current danger of forest fire in Germany is!

 

Let’s work together to ensure that only the corona virus affects our lives. Let us together make sure that fires do not also cause grief or even danger to life.

 

In this sense, the team of König Konzept wishes you some wonderful Easter days despite the corona restrictions – AND STAY HEALTHY!

Behaviour in case of fire – 1. Fire in the own flat in an apartment building

 

What should I do if there is a fire in my apartment in an apartment building?

 

In a nutshell – and under “read more” with helpful background information for all those who want to find out more.

 

Try to stay calm! Read more...

Stay calm – you are excited because a fire is not a habitual situation. Knowing what steps to take and regularly practicing these steps will not reduce the danger and risk for you, but you can at least partly defuse the dangerous situation and possibly even bring it under control by your reactions

 

Is it possible to extinguish the fire with simple means? (e.g. put the lid on the burning pot, use an existing small extinguisher, container with water) Read more...

Attempt to extinguish – Every fire starts small. The earlier you discover a fire, the greater the chance that you can extinguish it. There are some simple methods of extinguishing incipient fires. It is important that you react quickly and decisively.

 

a) Burning fat in a pan or pot–> Important: No water on fat fires! As fat burns very hot, water evaporates immediately in this case – and takes the burning fat with it. Instead of this, stifle the fire, e.g. by putting a lid on it.

 

b) Extinguishing spray cans are intuitively easy to use – just like spray cans. This may be sufficient for a developing fire. Against smaller fires, such as those caused by an overturned candle, you can even achieve good results with the finely atomized water from a flower sprayer, such as the one used for moistening leaves, if it is quickly at hand.

 

c) The most common types of fire extinguishers are ABC powder, water or foam extinguishers. For use in an emergency, however, you should first familiarise yourself with the application. Not all fire extinguishers work with the same technology – how they work is stated on the device as instructions for use.

 

When do you still have a chance to extinguish a fire with simple means?

A rule of thumb is: If you can still see the source of the fire, i.e. the cause of the fire, and apply extinguishing agent with your arm stretched out. With fire extinguishers, successful fire fighting is in principle possible longer and even later in the course of the fire than with extinguishing spray. But when a fire has developed beyond the initial fire phase, its spread is very rapid. In case of doubt, and especially if the smoke spreads quickly, you should definitely prefer to withdraw fire fighting. Do not play the hero! Your safety comes first

.

 

There is an interesting video about this: (Sorry, this video is in German language)

 

Is it possible to close the door to the burning room? Read more...

Every door is initially a barrier to flames and also smoke. Therefore, it is always useful if a possible escape route is separated from the fire room by a door.

There are highly effective fire doors that can withstand a fire for at least 30 minutes. But even simple doors without fire protection quality prevent a further spread of fire for at least 10 minutes – if they are closed. When you have closed the door inside the apartment, valuable time is gained for informing any other people present in the apartment and for escaping together. Also, the smoke cannot spread any further and put you at risk.

 

Consider whether there are other people in the apartment. If so, do these people know about the fire and are they able to leave the apartment independently? Read more...

Are there other people in the apartment and in the house? If there are children or other adults in the apartment besides yourself who have not yet noticed the fire, your quick and decisive reaction is vital for survival. After the initial fire phase, during which you may still be able to intervene, fires usually develop very quickly. It is therefore important that everyone who is still inside the apartment is informed as soon as possible and is able to get to safety together with you. Those who are dependent on your help (for example children, sick or infirm people) have priority. Remember that otherwise independent and reasonable people may become confused or panicky in the event of a fire. Get all persons you can reach and move without endangering themselves out of the building.

 

Is the escape route to the apartment exit available? Read more...

Your further action depends on whether your escape route to the apartment exit is free of fire and fire smoke.

If not, go to the room that is furthest away from the source of the fire, close the door behind you and alert the fire brigade.

 

Be sure to point out that you are locked in. If this room has a window that can be reached with a ladder, you will be brought out this way. This may take some time – modern doors can withstand a fire for a long time, so you can wait. It is important that you make yourself noticed at the window by shouting. The fire brigade will send a fireman to keep in contact with you.

 

Please be as specific as possible about your situation: Is the exit blocked by the fire? Is the apartment door closed? Is smoke penetrating? Are there other people in the room with you or in other rooms in the apartment?

 

If your evacuation via ladders is not possible, the fire brigade will come to your rescue by a quick and direct extinguishing attack via the stairs. For this purpose, they can use an escape hood, for example, which protects you for a short time from the dangers of fire smoke. However, an emergency service will always accompany you.

 

If the fire brigade cannot get to you soon enough and the situation in the room becomes threatening, you can still be rescued by a jumping pad. (The jumping sheets stretched out by many people, which were known from children’s books, do not exist anymore). Jumping pads can catch a jump from the 5th floor of an apartment building.

 

Attention: Never jump before you are asked to! Jump cushions are inflated and must first unfold. Sit on the windowsill, push yourself away from the window, pull your legs up and make a “bomb” like in a swimming pool!

 

Do you have your mobile phone and apartment keys within easy reach? Read more...

A mobile phone is an important tool in an emergency.

With a mobile phone you can also make an emergency call when the SIM card has expired – but the battery must be charged. If there is a fire in your home, it is of course important to alert the fire brigade as soon as possible.

But an emergency call takes a while: The control center has to get information about the exact location, the situation etc. and will ask questions. There is no time for that in a room where there is a fire. You should therefore first get to safety before making the emergency call. It is of little use if you have alerted the fire brigade and cannot leave your home because of the time spent on it.

 

When leaving the apartment, you should always take your key with you to the apartment entrance. When the fire brigade arrives, you can give the firemen your apartment key and other information about the situation. With the key, the firefighters can get into their flat faster and they don’t have to gain access with breaking tools and lose valuable time.

 

To ensure that you can quickly find your keys and mobile phone in an emergency, they should always be in the same place and ready to hand. If you lock your door at night, leave the key in the lock if the door can still be unlocked from the outside. Alternatively, you can hang or place the key in a clearly visible position on a key board in the immediate vicinity of the door.

 

Did you close the door to the staircase when you left the apartment? Read more...

If you leave your apartment through the apartment entrance door, it is important that you close the door behind you. Closing the apartment door in the event of a fire in an apartment building is particularly important. When the door is closed, a small amount of smoke can still enter the stairwell, but not as much as when the door is fully open.

Even if the apartment entrance door is not a fire door with a defined fire resistance, it can withstand a fire for a certain period of time and can thus enable not only you but also the other residents of the building to escape via the staircase.

If you leave your burning apartment and have the key with you, it is not only helpful for you if you want to go back after the fire is extinguished, but also very helpful for the fire brigade. If the fire brigade arrives and you expect them to come with the apartment key and also other information, the firefighters can get to the source of the fire faster than if they have to use crushing tools to gain access to the scene of the fire first.

 

Have you called the fire brigade from a safe area via the telephone number 112? Read more...

The most important thing is to get all the inhabitants of the fire flat to safety. If everyone is safe – or unavailable – and no one else has been able to make an emergency call, then the next step is to do so as quickly as possible.

 

When making the emergency call, remember that the person on duty at the emergency call centre is accustomed to such a conversational situation, but for yourself the situation is new, you are excited and possibly confused. In this situation, it is important to nevertheless transmit all information that is important for the fire brigade and rescue services.

Therefore, try to answer the questions asked in an understandable and rapid manner. The most important thing is to determine the exact location of the emergency, i.e. town, street, house number, district, floor if applicable, and any special features or peculiarities of the access route.

 

Give clear and quick answers to the following questions:

– Where is the emergency location?

– What has happened?

– Who is calling?

 

Provide concise information and describe the situation as precisely as possible. Are there injured and how many? Are people in acute danger? Also wait for further questions and instructions and do not hang up until the person in the control centre has finished the conversation.

 

Did you warn the neighbours? Read more...

If you live in an apartment building, you should at least warn the neighbours on the same floor. Apartments are normally separated in terms of fire protection in such a way that under normal circumstances no fire spread to the neighbouring apartment is to be expected before the fire brigade arrives. However, it is advisable to warn neighbours on the same floor if it is possible without danger.

 

Non-dangerous means that there is no strong smoke development in the staircase and that it can still be used without danger. However, you should not run up the stairs and cause all persons to leave the house. Apartment buildings are equipped with fire-resistant ceilings that last at least until the fire brigade arrives. The fire brigade can then decide whether or not it is necessary to evacuate the entire building

 

Can you give the fire brigade important information, for example, whether and where there are still people in the building? Read more...

The arriving firefighters are led by a fire chief who is trained to request information from the reporting persons about the incident as quickly as possible. This may seem brusque and not particularly sensitive – but that’s not what the situation is about, it’s about the quick defense against acute danger.

 

Identify yourself as an information carrier and respond in the same way as you have already spoken to the fire brigade on the telephone. The questions will mainly refer to the exact location of the fire, because it is not always clear from the outside:

– On which floor is there a fire and in which apartment?

– Pay attention to the way the floors are counted: ground floor, 1st floor, 2nd floor etc.

– Are there still people in the apartment?

– Are there any special dangers (gas bottles, animals, ammunition or similar).

– Is the door closed? Do you have a key?

– Give your key to the officer in charge.

 

After the initial information, be ready to answer questions. If you have followed all the points to the best of your knowledge and ability, you have done everything you could for yourself and your environment. This will enable the fire brigade to work quickly and effectively and the damage can be limited.

The correct behaviour in case of fire – Overview

 

The German Fire Brigade Association (DFV) and the Association for the Promotion of German Fire Protection (vfdb) have published a joint brochure in 2019 after two years of work, which describes the correct behaviour in the casw of a fire.

 

“The expert recommendation is aimed both at the residents of apartments and at fire brigades and specialists in fire protection education and information,” explains Frieder Kircher, Chairman of the Joint Committee.

 

The committee came to the following conclusions:

1. The recommendations for action must be more detailed, even if the problem arises that difficulties arise when reading the longer text.

2. There is no standard rule on behaviour that applies to every situation in every type of building when living. The detailed rules of behaviour for a fire in a single-family house differ in several points from the rules for a fire in an apartment building. The following four cases are therefore distinguished in the technical recommendation “Behaviour in case of fire”:

 

1. Fire in the own apartment of an apartment building

2. Fire in another apartment of a m apartment building

3. Smoky staircase in an apartment building

4. Fire in a single-family dwelling

 

3. Pure catchwords or mnemonics are not sufficient. There must be detailed explanations that address the users directly. In particular, these serve multipliers such as fire safety instructors or teachers to explain the mnemonic sentences to the users

4. Flow charts are used to clearly explain the principles of action.

 

The following short video is very illustrative: “Nils explains the fire protection” – from the video channel of the professional association for health service and welfare (BGW)

 

 

 

For the purpose of clarity, the four individual cases are also treated separately here.

 

“With the new technical recommendation, the Joint Committee for Fire Protection Education and Fire Protection Awareness continues its strategic work in this area, which was started with the technical recommendation ‘Emergency Calls in Fire Protection Education’ and is to be continued in the future,” Kircher concludes.

You can find the current expert recommendation in its entirety online at

https://www.brandschutzaufklaerung.de/veroeffentlichungen/fachempfehlung-verhalten-im-brandfall/

Carnival – Tips for fire protection. Hot rhythms and celebrations instead of hot flames and extinguishing

 

Guggenmusic, Fasnet. Foto: Hermann Schmider at Pixabay

 

In the next few weeks the so-called fifth season will really take off. Fools, jesters and carnival revellers are enthusiastically jumping into the numerous offered carnival parties and balls.

To make sure that you as organizer and visitor can celebrate these hours in a relaxed way, you should consider a few things to avoid fire accidents as good as possible.

 

  • When buying streamers, garlands and decorations, look out for flame-retardant products. You can recognise these by the imprint “B1”. By the way, our silk papers and crepe papers are also suitable for this purpose
Colourful and flame retardant – an unbeatable combination. Photo: 5598375 on Pixabay

 

  • In general, when decorating your party room, do not place decorative materials in the immediate neighborhood of light bulbs, radiant heaters, candles or other hot objects.
  • If you really want to place candles, you could install them fire-safe in so-called preserving jars out of glass.
  • Set up ashtrays and empty their contents into metal buckets only.
  • Remember to clearly mark emergency exits, never close them and make sure they are easily accessible.
  • Better safe than sorry, so keep fire extinguishers, fire extinguishing spray or buckets of water ready.
  • Check your smoke detectors in advance.
  • Do not use easily flammable material such as paper or cotton wool for costumes. Even children’s costumes with the EN 71 standard are not absolutely safe. It does specify how fast flames may spread. However, it does not cover secondary fire phenomena such as dripping. Close fitting costumes are generally safer. Talk to your children about the dangers of fire and teach them how to behave in an emergency. (see below)
  • Park responsibly, keep the escape routes clear!

Tips in case of fire:

  • Keep calm and don’t run off. If possible, take off burning clothing quickly.
  • Otherwise, throw yourself on the ground and roll quickly.
  • Help others, those affected are usually in shock. If necessary throw them to the ground and roll them.
  • Use a blanket to put out the fire and roll the person up to their neck.

Wound treatment:

  • Cool the injured area for about 10 minutes. The water should not be too cold, otherwise there is a risk of hypothermia.
  • Do not remove burnt in clothes.
  • In case of large wounds, call the emergency doctor on 112.

We wish all “party people” a fire-free, grand carnival! Helau and Alaaf and all the other fool calls – which you can read about here.

 

Advent, Advent…. the apartment is burning….

 

During the dark season, especially in the period from the beginning of December to mid-January, there are frequent fires in rooms, but in the worst case, house or apartment fires can also occur as a result.

 

You probably already guessed it: The most common reason for fires in this season are unattended candles, no matter whether they are lit on Advent wreaths, Christmas trees, candlesticks, etc. In this video you can observe how fast a fire of a Christmas tree develops and spreads.

 

Fires in residential buildings are not only dangerous, they can also be expensive in case of damage. Consumers can protect themselves against financial risks with the appropriate insurance policies – household contents and buildings insurance and personal liability insurance.

Fire damage inside the home is covered by household contents insurance. The policy covers all items that are movable – even destroyed Christmas presents are included.

In the case of damage to buildings, on the other hand, the building insurance policy applies.

 

BUT: The insurances only cover the damages if there is no negligence.

 

If someone leaves the room for a longer period of time although the candles are still burning, this person is acting grossly negligent – even if it is only small tea lights. Such behaviour can have consequences for the settlement of claims. This is because in the event of gross negligence, the insurer may reduce the benefit proportionately or refuse it altogether.

In the case of new contracts before 01.01.2008 and old contracts before 01.01.2009, the insurers were often not liable in these cases. Now there is a graduated system of fault (slight negligence, gross negligence, intent, malice).

 

By the way: Report your damages immediately and do not dispose of the damaged items without consulting the insurer. The insurer may still want to inspect the damage. It may also be helpful to document the damage with photos as documentary evidence.

Even if the mishap happens on Christmas Eve: insured persons should not wait until after the holidays to report their claims. Insurers have a damage hotline for this purpose, which is often activated on public holidays. If nobody can be reached there, you should write an e-mail. This is because, according to the insurance company, damage must usually be reported “immediately”.

 

What to do so that the dark season does not have to remain dark but there is no risk of fire?

Electronics as an alternative to candles

To reduce the risk of fire, the use of electric Christmas decorations is an alternative: fairy lights for the Christmas tree or Christmas LED lamps – it works without candles.

But make sure to buy fairy lights only with GS mark. The name and address of the manufacturer should also appear on the packaging.

Avoid using sparklers in the house or apartment. In one case, for example, the Offenburg Regional Court ruled that it is grossly negligent to light sparklers directly on the Christmas tree (file number: 2 O 197/02). The household insurance was not obliged to pay for the damage caused.

 

If you still don’t want to be without real candles, here are a few tips for your safety:

Withered Advent wreath branches can quickly start an apartment fire. Therefore, you should replace the fir greenery regularly. Furthermore, candles on flower arrangements should never burn down completely. Self-extinguishing candles offer additional safety here. Candles should also never be left unattended and should never be placed near flammable materials.

 

If you want to decorate your Christmas tree with real wax candles, curtains, drapes, paper and upholstered furniture must be out of reach. If you have playful pets, it is better not to hang the Christmas decorations on the lowest branches or place the tree on a sturdy table. When lighting the tree, the rule of thumb is to start at the top and work your way down. When extinguishing the candles, it is the other way round.

 

Parents should also pay special attention to their children and inform them about the risks involved. If a fire breaks out because an eight-year-old ignites tea lights with the lighter lying on the dining room table, the child cannot be blamed, the Bielefeld Regional Court stated in one case. Because the child’s thoughts one day before Christmas had been “dominated by the question” of which Christmas presents he or she would receive. However, the parents had to be liable, because they should have been more careful (file number: 21 S 166/06).

 

By the way, so-called fire protection sprays are recommended to a limited extent.

According to the manufacturer Aisco, natural Christmas trees are problematic in terms of fire protection.

“There is no product on the market, not even from us, that reliably makes Christmas trees of any kind, “resinous” and dry, flame-resistant according to DIN4102 B1″.

Your duty of care is also necessary if you have treated your Advent wreath branches or your Christmas tree with a fire protection spray.

 

For other materials, however, a fire protection spray is often a very good solution – report follows in a separate article.

 

Foto: Gerd Altmann bei Pixabay

With these tips the team of König Konzept wishes you a wonderful, fire-free, relaxed Christmas time full of atmospheric moments and a fantastic slide into a new year.

 

Job description “chimney sweep”

 

Something many people do not know: Chimney sweeps not only bring good luck, but also contribute to preventive fire protection with their work.

 

Stefan Wudi: Chimney sweeper with passion.

 

I was allowed to interview our chimney sweeper, Stefan Wudi, a little about his profession and the associated activities. In general, I was able to ascertain that the profession is incredibly varied and dynamic, as the technologies in the energy and heating industry are also constantly developing.

Chimney sweeps inspect heating, exhaust and ventilation systems and similar equipment for operational and fire safety. In doing so, they comply with building and environmental protection regulations and determine energy saving potentials.

Here is a good video on the subject of heating.

 

And for those interested, you can find the German nationwide sweeping and inspection regulations (KÜO).

 

Chimney sweeps carry out fireplace and fire prevention inspections as well as immission control measurements, arrange for the elimination of any defects found and document their measurement, test and work results.   This inspection is important to prevent the operation of fireplaces without prior notice, which could overload the chimney shafts and endanger the neighbours. If the chimney shafts are not suitable for a fireplace, carbon monoxide poisoning and fires could occur, as the exhaust gases cannot be completely extracted. Care and responsibility should therefore be among the virtues of every chimney sweeper.

 

By the way: § 14 of the Chimney Sweep Trade Act sets the intervals for the fireplace inspection:

It has to take place twice within a period of seven years; at least three years must elapse between the dates. However, this is only a regulation on how often a fireplace inspection must be carried out at least. Irrespective of these mandatory intervals, a fireplace inspection must always be carried out if there are significant changes to the combustion systems.

This concerns, for example, the installation of a new fireplace. However, this also includes significant changes in the usage behaviour: If, for example, you initially operate a wood-burning stove only at the weekend, but later change over to daily use, a fireplace inspection is necessary!

 

Chimney sweeps clean combustion systems and smoke outlets and remove deposits from ventilation systems.  Chimneys that are located in or on buildings are cleaned so that the chimney cross-section remains large enough for the flue gases to escape. This discharge can be reduced (even to the point of clogging the chimney) by leaves, birds, hornets and wasps’ nests or – in the case of very old chimneys – by age-related damage to the chimney. If this leads to an exhaust gas backflow, toxic exhaust gases (carbon monoxide) can enter the room where the heating system is located.                                 

Caution: This is especially important for weekend or holiday homes where heating is not regularly provided. 

 

And here once again the urgent advice for all stove owners to stick to the regulations regarding the burning material. If no suitable material is used, the fireplace can burn by contaminating it. This is called a “gloss soot” and is a deposit on the inside walls of the fireplace that does not belong there. These include soot residues from “normal” fuels and other materials that are burned illegally, especially plastics or materials with tar content. It will become dangerous if the residues in such a clogged chimney suddenly ignite at high temperature, a situation which unfortunately happens again and again. 

 

Stefan Wudi told me that he has to remove about 20 tar deposits in chimneys per year by controlled burning out.

 

The fact is that the chimney sweeper, who is responsible for regularly sweeping and monitoring the chimney, is always liable for chimney fires caused by a tampering. Only very exceptional circumstances could exceptionally justify the blamelessness of the chimney sweep (or his vicarious agent) in the sense of § 1298 ABGB.

However, the responsibility for the recurring execution of the chimney sweeping work was transferred to the owner. According to the new legal situation, the owners have the obligation to have the prescribed sweeping and inspection work carried out by a licensed chimney sweeper in due time. The authorised district chimney sweep then monitors this within the scope of sovereign activities.

 

During our conversation I also found it interesting that there are still only a few women in this profession. In Stefan’s school class there were only four out of a total of 25 vocational students. And I liked the fact that he answered my question without hesitation, whether he would learn this profession again if he had to choose again, clearly with “Yes”. It is a good feeling to be supervised by such a positively convinced chimney sweep.

Retardants – Live-Saver not only in Australia

 

Bush fires in Australia

Surely you have seen some pictures of fire-fighting planes in the media over the last few weeks, which are doing their utmost to fight the bush fires with so-called retardants.

 

Air Force Reserve aircrews and maintainers stand ready to fight wildfires using C-130 Hercules equipped with modular airborne firefighting systems, similar to this one. The aircraft can drop up to 3000 gallons of retardant covering an area one-quarter of a mile long and 60 feet wide. Photo by Staff Sgt. Daryl McKamey for Wikipedia

 

Bushfires, intentional or unintentional, contribute much more to climate change than is known, because when wood burns, the fixed carbon produces the greenhouse gas CO2.

A new study in the trade journal “Science” shows the dramatic effects this has on climate change. “We estimate that slash-and-burn contributes one-fifth to the greenhouse effect caused by humans,” says Thomas Swetnam of the University of Arizona in Tucson, one of the authors of the study. It is absolutely clear that fires are one of the main accelerators of climate change.

The rise in temperature then favours further major fires – a vicious circle. Incidentally, this is a threat that will probably also affect German forests in the long term.

 

In total, more than 1.1 million hectares of land have already been affected in eastern Australia in recent days. There are about 70 fires in New South Wales, 50 of which have been contained.

Sydney is also threatened by the fires.

 

Here you can see a video that shows in an impressive way how serious the danger is and by what measures the fire brigades try to control the fires. Fire brigade warning: “For God’s sake, stay away from the bush“!

 

Without these courageous firefighters we would all be lost in a fire. At this point I would like to thank everyone who is involved in the voluntary fire brigade or works as a firefighter. Thank you very much!

 

And in this video you can see how the fire engines work feverishly with retardants to protect as many properties, houses, barns as possible and of course try to extinguish the fires. Fire retardant for houses and properties in Sydney. By 9NewsAus.

 

For your information:

Flame retardants used in forest fires are usually a mixture of water and chemicals – ammonium salts, phosphates and sulphates – which have flame-retardant properties and are intended to wet the area and chemically retard the course of a fire through vegetation.

Typically, it is colour-coded – with red iron oxide or non-toxic organic dyes decomposing under UV light, so that the application area is visible from the air.

 

However, gel-based retardants complying with NFPA Standard 1150 are also used. These are coloured in other colours to distinguish them from the traditional red retardants. The gels and their dyes are designed to biodegrade naturally. Phos-Chek is a brand of long-term retardants currently approved for use in wilderness areas. Phos-Chek also has a consumer-based fire retardant spray called Wildfire Home Defense, which is effective immediately after use and remains effective until washed with heavy water.

 

In fire-fighting vehicles, foam compounds, so-called Class A Foam compounds, are generally used.

Today, this Class A Foam is the undisputed state of the art in the USA, Canada and partly also in Australia. It is accepted by municipal fire brigades, forestry and fire brigades as well as by ecologists and is mainly used to fight or seal off uncontrolled and controlled vegetation fires. The Class A Foam foams approved in the USA have been developed exclusively for fighting solid fires (wood, straw, tyres, coal).

 

As you can see – retardants are essential for survival, not only for humans, animals and property – but also for our planet in the fight against climate change!

 

Feel-good warmth with wood-burning stoves 

 

Slowly but surely it’s getting cold – the nights are already so fresh that people like to switch on the heating.

A wonderful alternative to normal heating is a wood-burning stove, especially during the transition periods.

 

 

The warmth generated by the fire is quite different and in combination with the sight on the cracking and burning logs it usually gives us a wonderful, comfortable feeling of well-being.

 

However, you should also be well informed about what to consider when buying and installing a stove.

 

First the facts about the stoves:

A wood-burning stove, also known as a “Swedish stove” or “fireplace stove”, belongs to the broad field of wood-burning stoves. These stoves are offered in different variants, e.g. with so-called soapstone, which stores the warmth longer.

The range of possible applications is just as wide. You can use it to heat only individual rooms, but you can also install it as part of a so-called hybrid heating system, or connect it to a solar thermal system, for example. A specialist can offer you competent support.

Particularly in the transitional periods between spring and summer as well as autumn and winter, an additional wood-burning stove reduces heating costs considerably.

 

 

 

Wood is one of the renewable raw materials and so you can heat with a stove in an environmentally friendly and low-emission way. And compared to other fossil fuels such as oil or gas, it is even very inexpensive.

 

However, when firing with wood, you must make sure that it has been stored long enough. If the humidity is too high, the wood in the fireplace will burn uncleanly. This reduces the calorific value of the wood as well as the nominal heat output and the device is unnecessarily loaded.

And, of course, fire protection must also be taken into account here!

The reasons for the state fireplace regulations lie in preventive fire protection: Privately operated fireplaces are basically a potential source of danger for the general public.

 

For this reason, regulations have been drawn up to ensure a minimum level of safety for the individual stove owner, but also for other persons and buildings.

 

These distances must be observed when setting up the stove:

  • 20 centimetres between back and wall
  • 30 centimetres on each side
  • 65 centimetres on both sides, for side windows
  • 20 centimetres between stove/smoke pipe and ceiling
  • 80 centimetres in front of the front glazing

 Flammable objects must be protected from overheating by non-combustible insulation at smaller distances. In addition, the flammable floor must be protected from flying sparks and fire hazards by an appropriate stove base plate before the stove is connected.

 

Here you can download a PDF summary of the regulations for wood-burning stoves .(Sorry, only available in German)

Other stove regulations, for example, regulate the maximum fine dust emissions from stoves to ensure adequate protection of health and the environment.

The stove regulations should therefore be discussed individually on location. The responsible district chimney sweep is the correct contact.

 

By the way: We advise stove users to install a carbon monoxide detector. Even small amounts of inhaled carbon monoxide lead to irreversible heart and brain damage, larger amounts to death.

Fire smoke – origin, behaviour, dangers 

 

 More than 400 people in Germany die every year as a result of a fire, with about 95% of these deaths due to smoke poisoning.

 

 

 

How does a fire actually occur?

First of all 3 factors must be present:

  • Oxygen
  • Combustible material
  • Thermal Energy                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Here are two examples:

A particularly impressive video of a room fire caused by a fallen cigarette is provided by EI Electronics.

A sports jersey is placed on a radiator to dry. The plastic part of the jersey is about 40%. The flame-retardant temperature of the plastic is 250° C. The oxygen content in the room is approx. 21%. The electrical heating (thermal energy) has a max. conductor temperature of 1500° C.

When the jersey overheats, the actual firing process begins. The smoke rises, spreads under the ceiling and then sinks.

 

And this is the great danger – because fire smoke is

  • noiseless
  • NOT to smell during sleep! – not even for pets! And already 3-4 breaths can be sufficient, in order to release an unconsciousness…
  • toxically
  • mortally

Fire smoke contains highly toxic components such as carbon monoxide, hydrocyanic acid, hydrochloric acid, sulphur dioxide and phosgene.

Within only 3! minutes the visibility decreases so far by the developed smoke that you can lose your orientation and can no longer get to safety.

From only 1 kg paper or cardboard (books or magazines) about 800 – 1000 m³ smoke gas is released, from only 10 kg foam rubber (mattresses or sofas) about 20 000 m³ smoke gas is released. If you consider that an apartment with 100 m² and a ceiling height of 2.50 m has 250 m³, you can imagine how quickly and how densely these rooms are smoked in the event of a fire.

 

By the way: Children under the age of 6 are particularly at risk in the event of fire, as they are more likely to hide than try to escape from fire or smoke. Therefore – in case of danger in children’s rooms, always check under the beds or in the wardrobe whether there are still children in the room!

 

 

It is relatively easy to protect yourself against fire smoke poisoning by installing smoke alarms in bedrooms and corridors or in rooms which are the escape routes from such lounges/bedrooms.

Because 70% of fatal fires occur at night.

Where and how many smoke alarms should be installed can be read in another article.

 

But: In case of a fire or if the smoke alarm has triggered – How to behave?

Here you can inform yourself.

And still another tip for schools, pupils and educators: There is a great pupil competition “120 Sek. um zu überleben” also for International Schools in Germany to the behavior in the case of fire:

When the smoke detector sounds the alarm, there are only 120 seconds left to survive. What to do? The student competition for grades 7-10 is designed to help students learn how to behave correctly in the event of a fire and to communicate this knowledge through a creative campaign. Here is the student_competition_registration_and_explanation_2019 for schools

Attention: It is advisable to submit your application by 20.11.2019 at the latest.

 

 

New formula for flame-retardant textiles

 

The Institute for Plastics Technology (IKT) at the University of Stuttgart and the Institute for Textile Chemistry and Chemical Fibres Denkendorf (ITCF) jointly carried out research on flame-retardant polyamides for textile and plastics technology as part of a joint industrial research project (AiF-iGF).

 

In case of fire, plastics should show a self-extinguishing behaviour and must not drip off. (Photo: IKT)

 

It has now been succeeded in synthesizing an intrinsically flame-retardant polyamide which contains the flame-retardant component chemically bound in the polymer chain.

This new manufacturing process combines high flame retardancy with improved physical and physiological properties of textiles.

 

Dr. Georgios Mourgas, scientific assistant at the DITF Denkendorf, is in charge of this project and explains the advantages:

Usually, large amounts of flame-retardant phosphorus compounds are added to the polymers as additives in order to achieve a good fire protection effect. And this usually happens at the expense of the physical and physiological properties of the textiles. In addition, these phosphorus compounds added in large quantities as additives prevent the necessary long molecular chains from forming and thus act as chain breakers. The resulting plastic cannot be processed into fibres at all or only with great difficulty, and due to aging and washing processes the additive emerges from the fibre over time.

 

Intrinsically flame retardant polyamides as raw material and as fibres on the spool. Photo: DITF Denkendorf

 

With the new process, only small amounts of phosphorus compounds are required to achieve comparably good flame retardancy.

The compounds are chemically coupled to the molecular chains and thus bonded to the polymer much more firmly than would be possible with additive admixtures.

These polyamides are called intrinsically flame retardant.

This means that the flame retardant is built directly into the polyamide. This enables us to achieve a permanent, long-lasting “flame retardant effect”.

 

Laboratory tests have already shown that flame retardancy is just as good as that of polyamides to which additives have been added. In addition, the chemical bonding of the flame retardants to the polymers prevents migration and leaching from the fibers due to ageing, as is observed with the use of additives. Not only does the flame retardancy remain completely intact, physiological skin compatibility is also improved: Intrinsically flame-retardant polyamides release virtually no phosphorus compounds.

Skin compatibility tests rate this type of polyamide as good.

In their application, textiles made from our intrinsically flame-retardant polyamides show their advantages especially where high flame-retardant requirements are placed on the materials,” Dr. Mourgas describes the practical use of the new polymers.

This is particularly the case for home textiles with carpets, upholstery and seat covers or curtains. However, as is so often the case with new developments, further fields of application may open up as soon as the product becomes available on the market.