When a fire breaks out inside a home or a commercial building, a backdraft is possible. But what exactly is a backdraft? Simply put, it’s an explosion that occurs when some new air meets a fire that has already devoured all the available oxygen it can reach. The three critical components of any fire are oxygen, an ignition source, and ambient heat. This situation can be dangerous for anyone – homeowners, employees, and even first responders such as firefighters.
How a Backdraft Happens
As explained above, a backdraft is a sudden explosion caused by new oxygen entering a fire’s sphere of influence. Once a fire has consumed all the oxygen it can get, it will begin to dwindle. But a guttering fire is no less dangerous. Whatever it used for fuel is still in a state known as smoldering, so the presence of heat remains even if there aren’t any roaring flames present.
Fires also generate smoke. Smoke comprises of carbon and soot, the byproducts of a fire. But the different colors of smoke are determined by how much oxygen a fire can consume. Smoke always rises, and as it does, it becomes hard to see through because of its density. Plus, the smoke can still be so hot it causes another fire in its wake. It’s also important to remember that odd brown discolorations and signs of warping and cracking on windows and doors indicate that a backdraft is possible.
What Responders Can Do
Although we don’t think of fires as thinking, living creatures, there’s a reason they’re so dangerous. After all, they are often described metaphorically as a hungry animal, as it is savage, unpredictable, and will do anything to sustain itself and survive. Ventilation through so-called vertical openings are the only options for responders to use. By venting the heat and pressure through the roof, for example, it makes it safer to enter the room or building.
Then firefighters and other responders can start extinguishing the fire. Ventilating the heat through a door or a window might make sense, but doing that is the quickest and surest way to trigger a backdraft.
Commercial and Residential Fire Prevention from Judd Fire Protection
If you want to ensure your home and business are safe throughout the year, trust Judd Fire Protection, LLC. We have over two decades of experience with design, installation, service, and inspection of residential and commercial fire protection systems. We service clients throughout the Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and West Virginia. If you are interested in finding out more about our services and protecting your home and business, give us a call at 410-871-3480 or contact us online. For more fire safety tips, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.