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Shishapedia - Avoiding Shisha Fires and Putting out Shisha Fires Safely

Updated on August 24, 2012

Shishapedia – Avoiding Shisha Fires and Putting out Shisha Fires Safely

If you smoke Shisha regularly you will be aware that if you are careless you can potentially start a fire. Fire safety is an important topic you should always be aware of. Weather it is while smoking shisha or just part of everyday life; you should really know some basic points that will help you avoid fires and help combat them if you do arise.

If a fire breaks out and you cannot control it you should first of all call the Fire service. It is always better to call them sooner rather than later. Every minute the fire has to spread is a bigger and bigger risk to life and your possessions.

Avoiding Shisha Fires

Shisha Fires can be avoided by using common sense and being careful.

When preparing your shisha, before even lighting your coals ensure the shisha pipe is tightly fitted into the base. You don’t want the shaft to be loose. This could cause the whole pipe and head, and the charcoal to tip over. You also have to ensure the molasses’ bowl is tightly fitted onto the top of the pipe. This is one of the primary causes of Shisha Fires. The molasses bowl will often rattle around as you smoke. If the head is loose ensure you add a grommet or some tissue paper underneath it to tighten it. If you see your charcoal pieces starting to move towards the edge of your foil covering as you smoke, move them back. Don’t wait until it is too late.

When you have prepared your hookah pipe ensure you choose wisely where you are going to enjoy it. Find somewhere with a flat floor. An uneven floor will cause the pipe to tip. Ideally find a tiled floor to smoke on. For Shisha Café’s the best option is concrete flooring. Carpet will burn rapidly and vinyl flooring will also stain heavily. Wooden flooring could be a huge disaster. Remember you are dealing with charcoal that can burn up to 500°C.

When lighting the charcoal, do it somewhere away from the Hookah Pipe. Once you light Shisha Charcoal it will spark for a few seconds as the ‘fire lighting’ liquid on the edge of the coal catches alight and lights the main portion of the coal. If the sparks fly towards your face or your eyes it is very likely you will react by quickly moving. I have heard of numerous hookah pipes being tipped over by people stumbling around with minuscule pieces of burning coal in their eyes. I would suggest that you hold the shisha coal an arm’s length away with tongs, and light it with a lighter (held in your other hand). As soon as the coal starts to ‘spark’ you want to place it into a metallic container for a minute of two so it can light without you needing to hold it between the tongs. As soon as you place it into the metallic container move away. Give it some safety space and respect.

I would recommend using an ashtray to light the coals in. These are designed to handles cigarette butts, and therefore are suitable to hold hot coals. Try to have a small metallic tray underneath the ashtray. A Shisha tray from an old Hookah pipe works well for this. This will ensure when your coals are lit and you carry the tray to where your hookah pipe is you will not burn your hands and drop the coals accidentally.

The use of a Wind Cover would always help keep your coals in place. This is not always practical inside but it will only help you in terms of safety.

When you have finished smoking use your tongs and collect all your used coals (lit and ash) into the tray beneath the shisha head. I would recommend cleaning the head, then removing this tray, and tipping all the ash and lit coal into the ashtray you have. You can then easily carry these to the sink and safely wash the coals down with water. This will distinguish the lit coals and wash away all minute pieces. Remember some pieces of lit coal can be too small for you to even see; but can still cause a fire. I would recommend you also rinse out the tray from under the shisha head to be sure you have extinguished all the lit coal.

When using a hookah pipe with your friends ensure you all act safely and responsibly. Be careful and sensible and make sure you respect the danger the Hookah pipe can create.

Dealing with Shisha Fires

If you have created a fire accidentally this is really not the time to read this hub. Call the Fire Services; especially if you have let it burn long enough to find this article!

If you are reading this article without any shisha fires burning in your background try to remember the following tips. They will be useful if you ever encounter a shisha fire.

If your charcoal has dropped onto the floor or another surface try and pick it up with tongs and put them into a metal ash tray or the metal tray under the shisha head. This will stop a fire starting if it has not already started. If you just have smouldering pieces of coal you can extinguish them with water. Get a jug of water; or if your shisha pipe has fallen use the water from the base if it is easy and quick to access. Cover the pieces of coal with water and they should smoulder until they flake apart.

Smouldering Coals on other surfaces will often leave marks. These are not so easy to get rid of. A lot of people recommend placing your hookah pipe on a cheap rug that you don’t mind getting burnt. You should then always use the same rug when smoking so in the case of the pipe falling over only the rug will be exposed. You can buy a small sized fire retardant rug for under $30.

If you caused marks on your carpet try and scrape off all the burned sections. Then use a carpet cleaner to try and remove as much of the stains as possible. For clothes use a machine wash to remove dark marks. You can’t fix holes burned through in clothes unfortunately.

If your coals have caused something else to catch fire you are no longer dealing with a shisha fire; but an actually fire. This is something entirely different and can be very dangerous. If you think the fire is still small and something you can tackle give yourself 2minutes, 120 seconds to attempt to put it out. If the fire is larger and you cannot tackle it or you have already attempted it and failed you want to call the fire service, but only after you have evacuated everyone safely.


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