SCARY BASICS OF A HOME FIRE

The home fire average statistics through 2016, are from the National Fire Prevention Association (USA) are as follows:

 

365,500  –  Residential fires annually
2,650  –  Deaths usually from smoke inhalation, daily average is 7
11,670  –  Civilian fire injuries
$6.5  –  Billion in property loss
7%  –  Of homes have sprinkler systems
66%  –  Of home fires occur in homes with inoperable or no smoke alarms

 

 CAUSES OF FATALITIES IN HOME FIRES

1  –  SMOKING  –  Smoking cigarettes, pipes and cigars are the number 1 cause of fatalities in home fires.  23%
2  –  COOKING  –  Is the 2nd most common cause of home fire  fatalities.  21%
3  –  HEATING  –  3rd cause.   19%
4  –  FAULTY ELECTRICAL DISTRIBUTION & EQUIPMENT  –  19%
5  –  ARSON  –  Unbelievably is 5th.   15%
6  –  SEASONAL FIRES/other CAUSES  –  Christmas, New Years and other occasions.   3%

 Leading causes of home structure fires

Operable, Wireless Smoke Alarms
Are Absolutely Essential to Home Safety!

 

 From the National Fire Prevention Association, USA.

Hidden Home Fire Hazards Lurking?

“We have lived in our house 25 years and never had a fire!”  Your home may be considered fire-safe, but hiding in the broom closet, under your work bench, in the wall cavities, up in the attic, or next to your cook top in the kitchen, fire hazards may be hiding.  Let’s take a look around . . .

Clutter In The Kitchen
They are all too near the range, or on the top of it—dish towels, hot pads, recipe books, plastic spoons, used paper towels.  Suppose someone unthinkingly turns a burner on?  Or you might have left some chili cooking in a pot, going elsewhere to do something, and 2 hours later you remember?

Lint Collecting In The Dryer
Do you faithfully empty the lint catcher on the back of your dryer, but did not know that lint can build up elsewhere in the dryer cabinet or in the long tube leading to the outside vent?

Antiquated Appliances
Your great grandmother’s Victrola that you found in her attic 60 years ago may still play, but the wires are frayed or damaged and do not meet today’s standards for appliances.  It could short out and start a fire.

Squirrels Notorious for Chewing Wiring
Most of us don’t think of electrical wiring in our homes, but suppose you are hanging a mirror on the wall and you drive a screw between 2 wires and
they are shorted, hot, sparking and start a blaze in the wall.

About 8 years ago, here in Virginia, a squirrel chewed through some wires, started a blaze that burned a 2 story building to the ground.  I know the 88 year-old man who was born in the upstairs apartment in that rural store.

Smoking
While many adults are not smoking, and some teens are not starting to smoke, it still is the number one cause of fatalities in home fires.

Matches, Lighters and Candles
Keep in mind that arson is the 4th cause of home fires. It is generally considered a crime if the burning is done with malicious intent, but the laws vary from place to place.  Matches, lighters should always be kept out of children’s reach.  Burning candles should never be left unattended.

All Flammable Liquids
Be careful to keep them in proper containers and stored in special areas.  Many fires originate in garages, and if unattached can quickly spread to houses.

 

There Is Much To Learn About Home Fires

 Things You Must Know 

Home Fires Are:

  1.   FAST      Studies have shown that 30 years ago it took 17 minutes for a house to be engulfed in flames—today it takes less than 3 minutes.  This includes thick black smoke, including many deadly gases, and heat up to
    1,400 degrees.  All this makes flashover time, escape time, and collapse
    time much shorter.
  2.   HOT      Room temperatures in a flash fire can be 100 degrees at the floor and 600 degrees at the ceiling.  You can inhale this hot air only once—you cannot survive.
  3.   DARK      Fire at first lights up the room, but quickly produces thick black smoke and total darkness so that you can no longer see to get out of the house.  If it is possible, on your hands and knees you will have to feel your way to the door or window to escape the fire.  Obviously, reduced visibility because of smoke is dangerous enough, but smoky vapors can severely effect your eyes and your respiratory system and can be deadly in seconds.
  4.   DEADLY      Smoke and deadly gases from combustion kill many more people than flames do.  Fire produces poisonous gases as synthetic materials burn They increase the hazards of combustion dramatically.

In 2008, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) conducted a study comparing traditional solid wood materials found in the construction of older homes, with currently used lightweight “engineered” lumber and found that the latter reached structural failure in a fire 36-60% faster than solid wood assemblies. The Fire Protection Research Foundation (FPRF), labeled this rapid structural failure under fire conditions a “high level of concern.”

In recent years furniture, wood trim, floor coverings, stuffed upholstery, mattresses, pillows, carpeting, shingles, draperies and nearly everything in the closets, are all made with synthetics—polyurethane, vinyl, radon, nylon, polyvinyl chloride, polymer, polystyrene, Teflon, thermoplastic polyurethanes, Orlon, and on and on.  Since many synthetics are made of hydrocarbons, many experts say that when these synthetics burn, it is like tossing a match into a can of gasoline.

Smoke is more dangerous than fire.If you are caught in a home fire, keep in mind that it is in most cases smoke, not fire, that will take your life.  Inhaling smoke from a fire, you are inhaling a combination of toxic products, the 2 largest and most dangerous are carbon monoxide and cyanide.   Hence the necessity of the combo Smoke and CO alarm.   The best advice is to “GET OUT IMMEDIATELY!” 

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported that fires involving these synthetic materials accounted for the largest share of fire deaths of any first item ignited in US homes.

 

Why do homes burn down so quickly today?
Find out how dangerous a flashover is—the video below is 4:47 minutes long.  Please, watch it!

Don't Freak Out---Get Out, then Call For Help!

  • Have the best smoke alarms, frequently checked and currently working, and located in every place they should be!
  • Have a well laid out plan of escape, rehearsed every 6 months with the whole family.
  • Don’t look for valuables, get your family and your pets, and get out, then call for help!
  • Never return to your burning house, leave that in the hands of the firemen who are equipped and trained to do so!

     

In this very important series regarding home fires, wireless smoke alarms, combo smoke and carbon monoxide alarms—this is the first post entitled:   “Home Fire Statistics Are Tragic.”

The next post is Photoelectric vs Ionization Smoke Detectors Resolved
telling why one of these alarms should not be used.