During a Fire, Seconds Count! Fire Prevention Week, October 8-14

Structure fires today are quite different than 100 years ago.  The long-held belief was that we might have eight to 10 minutes to escape a fire.  But today that escape time can be reduced to as little as two or three minutes.

The smoke produced from building fires today can be even more deadly.  Modern building fires exhibit much more toxic smoke byproducts, primarily due to the common use of foam and other synthetics in our household furnishings and the greater use of electronic components.    These fire loading conditions can often result in much hotter and faster burning fires.

  • 84% of all U.S. fire related deaths occur in one and two-family homes.
  • 60% of all U.S. home fire deaths had no working smoke alarms.

The leading cause of residential fire incidents in the U.S. is unattended cooking.  More than two out of every five fires reported occur in the kitchen.

A fire can double in size for each minute left unchecked. Always call and report even a small fire event. Firefighters can double-check your home with their thermal image camera for any heat or fire inside walls or ceilings.

Also consider that the contemporary lightweight lumber used today in our homes – now often made from engineered wood fiber materials – are typically unprotected assemblies. Tests have shown that structural failure can occur 35-60 percent faster than solid wood assemblies.  Although incredibly strong and resilient under normal conditions, these composite wood materials are usually bonded with adhesives, which can deteriorate much faster when exposed to fire conditions.

Fire Prevention Week is recognized annually during the month of October to remind us all to prepare for the fall season. The theme this year is:  Every Second Counts – Plan Two Ways Out.

  • Test or replace your smoke detectors and batteries annually. Observe the 10-year device expiration date.
  • Check your furnaces, wood stoves, and chimney flues for any maintenance needs.
  • Inspect the carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in your home.
  • Make a home escape plan and practice with family members to coordinate a meeting place outdoors. Know TWO different exits and the means of escape in your home.  Practice twice per year.
  • Keep a flashlight and footwear near your bed.

Visit the Camano Island Fire and Rescue webpage to take the National Fire Protection Association fire prevention quiz and test your fire safety knowledge.  www.camanofire.com .  The answers are found in this article!