Fire Terminology​

Understanding the intricate world of fire terminology is essential for clear communication, especially during emergencies. Fire safety professionals must articulate using terms everyone grasps, ensuring the well-being of people and the preservation of properties.

At CMG Fire and Safety Services, we recognise the importance of mastering this specialised vocabulary. Whether it’s discerning between “fire triangles” and “fire classes” or navigating the subtleties of “warden roles” and “evacuation procedures”, the language of fire safety is as complex as it is crucial.

Our comprehensive fire training ensures you’re versed in these terms and can wield them confidently, enhancing safety and efficiency during critical moments. Our meticulously crafted courses aim to provide clear, understandable explanations, enabling individuals to make informed decisions swiftly.

Step onto the front lines of fire safety with a solid foundation of correct terminology. With CMG by your side, you won’t just be speaking the language; you’ll ensure safety through knowledge.

Key Fire-Related Terms & Definitions

  • Accredited Training: A recognised course that provides a qualification upon completion, valid nationwide or internationally.
  • Assembly Area: The designated location where building occupants must gather during an emergency evacuation.
  • AS3745:2010: An Australian Standard specifies the requirements for emergency plans and procedures for buildings, structures, and workplaces.
  • Australian Standard AS 3745-2010: A standard governing planning for facility emergencies. It includes guidelines for creating, updating, and maintaining evacuation diagrams.
  • Building Fire Safety: A broad term encompassing the measures and systems to prevent, detect, and combat fire within buildings.
  • BullEx Live-Fire Training System: A sophisticated training simulator that detects the technique of a trainee and automatically varies its flames in response. It’s one of the safest live-fire simulators available.
  • Classes of Fire: Categories into which fires are divided based on the fuel type and conditions under which they burn.
  • Command and Control of ECO and Occupants: The authoritative direction and management by the Chief Fire Warden over the Emergency Control Organisation and all individuals present on the premises during an emergency.
  • Designated Exits: Predetermined doors or pathways people should use to leave a building during an emergency.
  • Emergency Alert: High-priority communication given during immediate threats from fires.
  • Emergency Evacuation Diagram: A graphical representation of a building layout that indicates the safest exit routes, assembly points, and other crucial information for emergencies.
  • Emergency Control Organisation: The designated personnel within an organisation responsible for taking action during emergencies, ensuring the safety of all occupants.
  • Emergency Planning Committee: A committee responsible for planning, organising, and maintaining emergency procedures and plans.
  • Emergency Response Exercise: A practised procedure during Emergency Evacuation Training to test, improve, and maintain a state of preparedness for emergencies.
  • Emergency Response Teams: Groups specifically trained to handle and manage various emergencies within an organisation or facility.
  • Emergency-Stop Switch: A safety feature that allows for the immediate shutdown of equipment in the event of an emergency.
  • Evac Route: Pre-designated routes used for evacuating civilians from threatened areas.
  • Evacuation Diagram Validity Date: The date until the evacuation diagram is deemed accurate and compliant with regulations. This often needs updating every five years.
  • Extinguishing Agents/Types: Various substances or mediums, such as water, foam, or CO2, are used to put out fires.
  • Fire Advisory: Communication about potential fire threats or current fire conditions.
  • Fire Equipment: Tools and apparatuses like fire hydrants, hose reels, fire extinguishers, and fire blankets are located within a building and marked on evacuation diagrams.
  • Fire Indicator Panel: A panel installed within buildings indicating the status and location of potential fires or fire alarms.
  • Fire Line: The division between the burned and unburned areas in a fire.
  • Fire Retardant: Chemicals used to slow the spread of fires.
  • Fire Safety and Emergency Management Plan: A detailed plan outlining the protocols and measures to be followed during fire emergencies.
  • Fire Safety Audit: An inspection and assessment of a building’s fire safety measures, often recommending updates or changes to evacuation diagrams.
  • Fire Safety Protocol: Set of guidelines for ensuring safety from fires.
  • Fire Suppression: Efforts made to put out or control a fire.
  • Fire Triangle: A model explaining the three components (fuel, heat, and an oxidising agent) required for most fires to start and continue burning.
  • Legend: An explanatory table or list on an evacuation diagram explaining the symbols used.
  • Non-Accredited Training: A course providing knowledge and skills but not leading to a formal qualification recognised by external organisations.
  • Post-Evacuation Activities: Tasks or operations carried out after evacuations have taken place, ensuring all procedures were followed and identifying areas for improvement.
  • Raising the Alarm: Informing or notifying relevant parties of an emergency or potential threat.
  • Spill Response: Actions taken to address the unintended release of substances, often hazardous, to prevent harm to people, property, and the environment.
  • Spill Response Plan: A pre-defined strategy or set of procedures to address and manage spills to reduce potential harm and impacts.
  • Warden Training: A training course equips individuals to function within an emergency control organisation, often as a warden.
  • Warden Evacuation Scenarios and Walk Around: Practical exercises where wardens rehearse evacuation procedures in simulated emergencies, typically accompanied by a walkthrough of the premises.
  • Warden Identification and Structure: A system or method for identifying and defining the roles of different types of wardens in an emergency.
  • Warden Intercommunication Points: Designated spots where fire wardens can communicate with each other and the central control during an emergency.
  • WHS: Acronym for Work Health and Safety, concerning regulations and standards to maintain health and safety in the workplace.


Fires are categorised into six distinct classes based on the type of material that ignites the fire.

  • Class A fires involve combustible materials such as paper, wood, and fabric.
  • Class B fires are associated with flammable liquids like petrol, turpentine, and paint.
  • Class C fires are related to flammable gases, including butane, methane, and hydrogen.
  • Class D fires involve combustible metals such as magnesium, lithium, and potassium.
  • Class E fires are electrical fires primarily caused by faulty electrical equipment.
  • Class F fires arise from cooking fats and oils, typically fryers and chip pans.

By categorising fires systematically, it assists in swiftly identifying the most suitable type of extinguisher to tackle the blaze, ensuring an efficient and effective response.

Enrol in our Fire Extinguisher Training course for a comprehensive understanding to familiarise yourself with the best techniques and tools for each fire class.

Non-accredited courses are often specific to an organisation’s requirements and might not follow a nationally recognised curriculum. They are beneficial for addressing particular skills or knowledge gaps.

On the other hand, nationally accredited courses adhere to a standardised curriculum recognised nationwide. Upon completion, participants usually receive a recognised qualification or statement of attainment.

At CMG Fire & Safety Services, we offer both types to cater to diverse training needs.

While both roles are essential in emergency management, they have distinct responsibilities. A Fire Warden focuses on life safety, evacuation, and ensuring everyone follows emergency procedures. On the other hand, the Chief Warden takes on a leadership role, overseeing the entire Emergency Control Organisation, briefing emergency services, and handling post-evacuation management.

Building Fire Safety refers to the preventive measures and systems installed within a building to mitigate fire risk. This can include fire alarms, sprinklers, and fire doors. Emergency Coordination pertains to the organised response during an emergency, ensuring that all safety protocols are followed, people are evacuated, and communication is maintained. While the former is preventive, the latter is reactive, providing order during chaos.

While both pertain to emergencies, they address different hazards. Spill Response addresses the accidental release of substances, especially hazardous ones, to prevent environmental and health risks. It involves containment, control, and cleanup. Fire Response, in contrast, revolves around addressing fires, understanding their causes, and extinguishing them using appropriate methods and tools.