Types of Fire Hazards in Airplanes
Aircraft hangars and the aircraft itself are complex environments, both designed with a variety of systems and components that present a unique range of fire hazards. It’s crucial to understand these hazards and be able to establish a proactive aircraft fire suppression system.
- Flammable Liquid (Class B) Fires: Airplanes rely on flammable liquids as their primary power source. Jet fuel and gas are both stored in fuel tanks and transported through fuel lines, located in the aircraft’s wings. With the potential of fuel re-ignition, specialized agents like the F-500 EA are essential solutions for fire suppression.
- Electrical Fires: The most common causes of electrical fires in airplanes are worn or torn insulation and damaged wiring. Although these types of fires are unlikely, they can be very dangerous. Some of these fire hazards are seen in the aircraft cabin. Electrical equipment like in-flight entertainment systems and electronic devices can malfunction, leading to cabin fires.
- Engine Fires: Aircraft engines operate under extremely high temperatures and pressures, which makes them more susceptible to fires. These fires can be caused by flammable liquid leaks or mechanical malfunctions. Because engine fires can harm the safety of everyone on board, immediate detection systems are required to combat the spread of a fire.
- Hazardous Materials: Aside from the structural and operational components of an aircraft, they often transport a large amount of goods and personal belongings, some of which can be hazardous. For example, modern suitcases are built with portable charger ports, and these chargers can be hazardous if not removed before the luggage is stowed away. Materials like chemicals and lithium-ion batteries can ignite if they’re exposed to adverse conditions. Ensuring these materials are properly stored is critical for fire prevention and overall safety.