Smoke is a by-product of fire. It is a dangerous mix of un-burnt gases and solid particles. Smoke is formed due to incomplete combustion of material. During complete combustion, everything is burned, producing just water and carbon dioxide as the by-products. During incomplete combustion the fuel is not burnt completely leaving behind a lot of residue; smoke being one of them.
Smoke is a collection of these tiny unburned particles. Each particle is too small to be seen with the naked eye but collectively they form smoke.
It is noted that in case of a fire incident most of the casualties (50-80%) are because of asphyxiation rather than burning. The situation becomes even more critical in case of children and the elderly. They are dependent for their evacuation so there may be a time lag for evacuation exposing them to smoke making them susceptible to hazards of smoke.
The composition of smoke depends on the nature of the burning fuel and the conditions of combustion but a common deadly composition of gasses in smoke include harmful gases like Nitrogen Oxides, Carbon Dioxide, Sulfur Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Hydrogen Cyanide, Ammonia, Hydrogen Chloride, Phosgene Dioxin, Chloromethane, Bromomethane, Hydrogen Sulfide etc.
What makes Smoke a deadly killer?
Smoke replaces oxygen content in air leading to Asphyxiation
It aids in Spreading fire
Causes Flashover during the fire accident. (Flashover is the near simultaneous ignition of all combustible material in an enclosed area.)
Presence of smoke Hinders evacuation
But there is one good thing about smoke. It is the first sign of fire. It we have systems in place that can detect smoke at a very nascent stage it is possible to avert a fire situation altogether.
Ceasefire's range of fire alarm systems can automate the fire detection and fire fighting for any kind of premises. The range also comprises of a host of stand alone smoke detectors that detect smoke and raise an alarm to aid early and efficient fire fighting.