More than 4,000 Americans die each year
in fires and approximately 25,000 are injured. An overwhelming number of
fires occur in the home. There are time-tested ways to prevent and survive
a fire. It's not a question of luck. It's a matter of planning ahead.
Fire is FAST! There is little time! In less than 30 seconds a small
flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only
takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house. In minutes, a house
can be engulfed in flames. Most fires occur in the home when people are
asleep. If you wake up to a fire, you won't have time to grab valuables
because fire spreads too quickly and the smoke is too thick. There is only
time to escape.
Fire is HOT! Heat is more threatening than flames. A fire's heat
alone can kill. Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor
level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super hot air
will scorch your lungs. This heat can melt clothes to your skin. In five
minutes a room can get so hot that everything in it ignites at once: this
is called flashover.
Fire is DARK! Fire isn't bright, it's pitch black. Fire starts bright,
but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness. If you wake up to
a fire you may be blinded, disoriented and unable to find your way around
the home you've lived in for years.
Fire is DEADLY! Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. Fire uses up the oxygen you need and produces smoke and poisonous gases that kill. Breathing even small amounts of smoke and toxic gases can make you drowsy, disoriented and short of breath. The odorless, colorless fumes can lull you into a deep sleep before the flames reach your door. You may not wake up in time to escape.
Information obtained from U.S. Fire Administration.