The Risks to Health From Fire
The prevention of fire is a critical objective of company health and safety training as fires can be deadly occurrences which not only pose a danger to people, but can damage or destroy buildings and contents, as well as releasing toxic gases which can be harmful to the surrounding environment. Health and safety courses such as the NEBOSH Fire Safety Certificate will give workers and employees a much greater understanding of the dangers posed by fire and explosions, as well as training to make them familiar with control measures and the company's fire safety procedures, including emergency evacuation instructions.
As far as risks to people go, the most obvious danger is that from the flames. This can cause severe burns to people caught in the fire, particularly if they are trapped and cannot escape the building. The effects of the burns can be fatal, or can produce permanent scarring to skin.
Smoke produced by the fire can also be a potential killer. It can restrict breathing and cause asphyxiation, with the resulting oxygen deficiency leading to death as the body does not receive enough oxygen to sustain life. Largely affected by the type of material or hazardous substances that are burning, the smoke itself can also be damaging to health if it contains such toxic gases as carbon monoxide.
Fires are not only a risk to human life in and around the structure that is burning, but can also damage the surrounding environment. If the ground is particularly dry such as in the summer months, fires can spread through the surrounding countryside and burn tree and plant life which also means animal habitats are destroyed too. Fires can also directly or indirectly affect the environment aside from the flames. Soot can cover tree and plant leaves and prevent photosynthesis, causing them to die, whilst the water or foam used to put out the fire can wash harmful substances into the nearby soil or local watercourses which then harm plant roots or organisms such as fish that live in the water.