Legal Alien: A Scotsman in Montreal

 
Meet (one of) Durham's Newest Fire Marshalls

Just had my Fire Awareness Training this morning which will allow me to be a fire marshall at the new building. It wasn't particularly fascinating, just reinforced what you should do when you find a fire (Raise the Alarm, Call Fire Brigade, Attack Fire, Evacuate) and what types of fires and extinguishers there are.

There are apparently 6 classes of fire, brownie points to whoever gets them all:
A: Paper/Wood/Textiles - Water
B: Flammable Liquids - Foam
C: Gas - Powder
D: Metals - Powder
F: Fats and Oils - Powder/Blanket
/: Electrical - CO2

But you don't need to remember all that, since foam can be used on class A as well, and you won't meet a Class C or D unless you work in chemistry, so you only really have a foam or CO2 extinguisher, which are easy to tell apart anyway.

Apparently there is this stuff called Halon which is the best fire fighter ever invented - whereas most extinguishers target only one of the three necessary ingredients for a fire (heat, fuel, oxygen), Halon targets all 3 AND prevents flashover. However, it contains CFC and so is banned AND it removes all oxygen from a room, so if you're there and they use Halon, you're dead in 30seconds. That aside it is still used in places where equipment is irreplaceable (telephone exchanges etc) and where fire must be extinguished instantly, such as onboard a plane.

At the end of the session we got to put out a petrol fire with a CO2 cannister - technically it was a ClassB so we should have used foam, but since everyone needed to put out the fire, with CO2 it can just be relit (which is why you can't use it on a real fire).

I'm still not quite sure what a Fire Marshall has to do, but I think it revolves around wearing High Visibility jackets and shouting at people where to go, checking all the rooms are empty, checking off everyone in your section is at the Fire Assembly Point and reporting it to the chief safety officer.