Face the Facts of Fire
The most dangerous days for a house fire occur around Christmas
During the holiday season people tend to use candles more, light fireworks and overload electrical sockets to power Christmas lights.
The worst days are Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Other high risk days include Halloween and Bonfire Night.
There are more fires during the winter months
Most house fires occur in winter months, with 13% occurring January, and 12% occurring in February.
This is because during the colder and darker months, people use their heating and lighting devices more.
A home fire can double in size in just 30 seconds
The saying ‘every second counts’ has never been more appropriate. Make sure that you act quickly when a fire is detected. Efficiency is key.
A house fire reaches 600˚F at eye level and 100˚F near the floor
This tells us two things.
Firstly, that a fire gets hot enough to kill you, melt your clothes and cause severe burns. You don’t even have to touch a flame to feel the burn!
Secondly, it tells us that a fire is cooler at the base, so you have a better chance of surviving if you stay low.
Poorer children are more likely to die in a house fire
CAPT charity reports that children are 38 times more likely to die in a house if their parents have never worked, or are long-term unemployed.
This is because lower income households face problems such as poor housing; lack of education and overcrowding. People with a lower income are also more likely to smoke, which is one of the leading causes of fires.
Arson is the single largest cause of all fires all
Arson is responsible for more fires than any single accidental cause.
Surprisingly, arson is an even greater risk while a recession is on. During times of financial crisis, levels of certain crimes increase. Arson is one of them.
To protect your building, secure it (especially at night). Click here
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Cooking appliances are the leading cause of accidental house fires
Other leading causes include heating appliances, electrical devices, smoking materials and candles.
You’re more than twice as likely to die in a fire if you don’t have a working smoke alarm
This fact is hardly surprising, but highlights the importance of having an alarm installed and regularly checked. You should test them each week, and replace the alarm batteries every year.
When escaping a fire, you might not be able to see
It’d be fair to assume that the bright flame of a fire acts as a light. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
The dark smoke produced by a fire makes everything dark, so you generally won’t be able to see when escaping a fire. This is just one reason why you should know and practice your escape route.
Oh – and keep a torch within easy reach of your bed.
Fire burns oxygen and releases carbon monoxide
Not only do you run out of oxygen, but you are exposed to carbon monoxide fumes.
When carbon monoxide is inhaled, your blood cells start transporting carbon monoxide around your body, instead of oxygen, which will lead to death.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, normally you will pass out before you die from smoke inhalation.
Children sleep through smoke alarms
A study conducted in Melbourne, Australia found that 87% of 5 -10 year olds slept through smoke alarms that had been blaring for 30 seconds.
Out of the children that woke, only half recognised the noise. Of them, only half knew how to respond.
Younger children sleep through alarms because they produce more melatonin – a hormone that induces sleep. During puberty, the amount of this hormone produced declines.
So, if you have children and your smoke detector sounds, make sure you wake your kids before exiting your home.
Most fires fatalities occur when we are asleep
Most fire fatalities occur between 2am and 6am. This is probably because we are all sleepy, and don’t respond to a fire as efficiently as we could.
This highlights the importance of knowing, and rehearsing an escape plan so you know what to do when groggy.
Sprinkler systems actually reduce water damage
When a fire breaks out, sprinkler systems use 50-100 litres of water per minute. It sounds like a lot, but the fire service use 1,000 – 2,000 litres per minute!
Not only do sprinklers systems use less water, but they start releasing it around 10 – 30 seconds after a fire gets hot enough to activate them. This means that a fire is combated sooner, so doesn’t have time to get out of control. This will reduce the amount of water the fire service use before extinguishing it.
photo credit: Maggie Osterberg
via photopin cc