How Does a Fire Spread, and How Can You Prevent It?

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Workplace fire prevention is one of the most important health and safety aspects of any business. It’s a business owner’s nightmare for a fire to break out on their premises, but if the worst does happen, it’s important that you have appropriate workplace fire control techniques in place to prevent a blaze from spreading.    

At KW Fire Protection, we provide excellent commercial fire safety services to customers across Manchester, Oldham and Bolton. 

Our team has years of experience in enhancing the fire safety of organisations across a variety of sectors. This means we have a thorough understanding of the ways the spread of a fire can occur, and how it can be prevented.  

There are five main ways in which a fire can spread. These are:         


Conduction refers to the spread of fire between two materials. Some materials are better at conducting heat than others – for example, metal can transfer heat extremely virulently. This can result in a destructive spread of fire throughout a building, especially if the property has metal structures such as beams in place. This is often the main way in which a fire can spread from room to room in larger buildings.       


The most dangerous way a fire can spread is via convection. Heat always rises, so when there is a fire, the smoke and heat will head straight to the ceiling. It will then become trapped with nowhere else to go. This can happen extremely quickly in small rooms or enclosed spaces. The heat will then spread in other directions, rapidly engulfing the room in fire. Smoke and fire can also escape through small holes and gaps, which can mean the fire will spread to other rooms in the property.      


Radiation helps the fire to spread via electromagnetic waves in the air around us. These waves are heated up by the fire and then spread out in all directions. Once the waves hit an object, they’re absorbed and the heat is transferred. This is particularly a problem if the objects are combustible, as they’ll swiftly ignite and spread the blaze further.    


Direct Contact 

This method of spreading refers to when a fire comes into contact with other fuel sources. They can then also catch fire and spread the blaze exponentially. This process is known as direct contact.  

Back Draught 

Fires can also spread via back draughts. Fires need oxygen to spread, and when they’ve used up all the available oxygen in a room they’ll require more. An influx of additional oxygen, such as a window or door being opened, can cause a swift spread of the fire and cause it to swamp a room all over again. 

How to prevent the spread of fire

The best way to prevent the spread of fire in the event that one does break out is early fire detection. 

Having quality fire alarm systems in place can alert people when a fire has occurred, and they can then contact the fire brigade in a quick, timely fashion. By doing this, it will hopefully stop a fire from spreading and prevent the entire property from being destroyed. 

As well as this, fire doors are a must in any commercial organisation. Typically made from robust materials like timber and steel, fire doors can compartmentalise a blaze, keeping it contained in one area until the fire brigade arrives. Often, fire doors will also feature fire-resistant sealants down the sides, along the bottom and in any other gaps to prevent fire and smoke from sneaking out. 

Finally, fire suppression systems are another excellent way to prevent the spread of fire. These systems are automatically triggered without any human intervention needed. Our team can supply you with gas, CO2 and foam fire suppression systems that can be triggered as soon as a fire is detected, preventing the blaze from spreading to other areas of your property.          


Fire prevention is extremely important, and here at KW Fire Protection, our team is able to provide you with everything you need to effectively handle any emergency situation while also enhancing your organisation’s overall commercial fire safety. We serve customers across the Manchester, Oldham and Bolton areas – to find out more about what we do get in touch with our team today.      


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