Wayne State University

Fire Safety

What is fire?

Fire is the result of heat, fuel, and oxygen mixing together in the proper proportions with an uninhibited chemical chain reaction.

Extinguishing methods

To stop a fire, remove one or more of the elements which enable combustion represented here by the Fire Tetrahedron.

Fire Tetrahedron

Extinguishment theory

  • Temperature reduction
  • Fuel removal
  • Oxygen dilution
  • Inhibit chemical chain reaction
Fuel-Oxygen Fuel-Heat Heat-Oxygen
  Extinguishment Theory  

Classification of fire

Class Name Letter Symbol Image Symbol Description
Class A or Ordinary Combustibles Ordinary Combustibles A - image symbol Includes fuels such as wood, paper, plastic, rubber, and cloth.
Class B or Flammable and Combustible Liquids and Gases B - Flammable Liquids B-image symbol Includes all hydrocarbon and alcohol based liquids and gases that will support combustion.
This includes all fires involving energized electrical equipment. C - electrical equipment C-image symbol This includes all fires involving energized electrical equipment.
Class D or Combustible Metals D-Combustible Metals   Examples of combustible metals are: magnesioum, potassium, titanium, and zirconium.
Class K or Kitchen   K-image symbol Includes unsaturated cooking oils in well insulated cooking appliances located in commercial kitchens.

Types of fire extinguishers

There are many types and manufacturers of fire extinguishers. There are also many different types of extinguishing agents. The extinguishers listed below are the most common types found on campus. 

  Extinguisher type Range Duration of use
Water Extinguisher  Water extinguisher 30-40 feet 60 seconds
 Dry Chemical extinguisher  Dry Chemical extinguisher  5-20 feet 8-25 seconds
 CO2 extinguisher  CO2 extinguisher 3-8 feet  8-30 seconds

Use of portable fire extinguishers

  • A monthly "quick-check" is important to determine if an extinguisher is ready to use. The checklist includes:
  • Proper location
  • No physical or visual obstruction
  • Safety seals in place
  • Check fullness by "hefting"
  • No obvious physical damage, corrosion, leakage, or clogged nozzle
  • Pressure gauge in the operable range 

use of fire extinguisher steps

Reporting a fire emergency

  • Activate fire alarm on the way out of building
  • Notify WSU Police at 7-2222. Give at least:
    • Your name
    • Your location
    • A description of the emergency
    • A description of current conditions
    • A description of any special hazards or needs, such as hazardous materials storage or non-ambulatory occupants
  • Stay on the line, unless told to do otherwise

Employees are not expected to be firefighters!