The average amount of time you have to escape a deadly fire has plummeted in recent years — here’s why

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In the wake of several fatal fires in recent weeks, fire-safety advocates are calling on Americans to take steps to prevent another tragic fire.

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At least 19 people, including nine children, have died after a fire broke out in an apartment building in the Bronx borough of New York City. The fire came just a week after another fire broke out in a Philadelphia row house that killed 12 people.

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One of the reasons why fires are deadly is the materials we use to build and decorate homes today. According to safety certification company UL, people today have an average of only three minutes to escape a home fire, compared to 17 minutes for a similar fire 40 years ago. The use of synthetic materials has been shown to accelerate the spread of fire.

,The use of synthetic materials has been shown to accelerate the spread of fire.,

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Several organizations, including the International Association of Fire Fighters and the National Fire Sprinkler Association Congress has urged To pass fire safety laws across the country. And the Build Back Better plan backed by the Biden administration includes funding to add fire-safety features to public housing.

The tragedies that occurred over the past few weeks also served as a reminder of the need for fire-safety education at the national level. An average of about 3,500 people died in fires each year between 2010 and 2019, according to data from the US Fire Administration. The rate of fire deaths has increased upwards.

Here are five tips about what you can do to survive a catastrophic fire

Beware of Common Causes of Fire

The initial cause of Sunday’s fire in New York was a faulty space heater. According to the National Fire Protection Association, overheating is the second leading cause of home fires, responsible for approximately 500 civilian deaths each year. Most of these deaths result from stationary or portable space heaters, although fires can also be caused by fireplaces, furnaces, and wood stoves.

Fire safety experts recommend keeping a three-foot radius around heating equipment and open fires, to keep it away from children or anything that is flammable. Heating equipment and chimneys should also be cleaned regularly, and portable heaters should be turned off whenever you leave the room.

The most common cause of fire is cooking. Experts encourage people to never leave the stove unattended when leaving the kitchen, check food regularly, use timers, and not cook while sleepy or drunk.

make a fire safety plan

In Sunday’s fire, apartment building residents talked about the confusion and panic they found when they found the emergency stairway filled with smoke, and several people believed to have died trying to exit the building.

Creating a fire safety plan isn’t just about knowing how to get out of your home or apartment building. Families should also review the potential hazards a fire could cause and reduce them when planning.

People living in apartment buildings may not always be better served by getting out of the building immediately in the event of a fire. Many tall buildings are built to protect against fire – these buildings can still catch fire, but they are designed in such a way that in most cases the flames will remain within a single unit. In these cases, it may be safer to stay inside than trying to navigate smoke-filled stairs and hallways. Of course, if you’re in a room with a lot of smoke or flames, the best option is to get out.

If staying is the preferred option—or alternative, people should be prepared to seal doors with tape or wet towels, turn off air conditioners, and open windows until flames or smoke are coming from below. In these situations, people should also call the fire department to alert them about the conditions in their apartment and in their apartment, so that firefighters can check on them.

‘close the doors’

Investigators believed Sunday’s massive fire may have intensified because of a defect in the door. New York City passed a law in 2017 after another fatal fire that required building owners to install self-closing doors, as it prevents flames and smoke from traveling throughout the building.

Whereas talking to the press After the tragic incident, New York Mayor Eric Adams cited a public-service announcement from his childhood: “Shut the doors.”

When evacuating a building that is on fire, closing any and all doors you go through can help prevent the fire from spreading rapidly. UL also recommends closing bedroom doors at night, as research has shown it can protect the occupants of those rooms if a fire breaks out elsewhere in the house or apartment.

“With the doors and windows closed, the fire won’t have oxygen to burn and it’s going to stay there, giving other people in the house more time to get out and also helping to protect your property,” Steve Kerber, vice president and executive director of UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute.

maintain smoke detector

According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of five fire deaths occur in a home that either does not have a smoke alarm at all or where the smoke alarm is not working properly. Residents of the fire-ravaged Bronx building commented that fire alarms in the building had malfunctioned in the past, causing some to disregard the alarm at first.

Smoke alarms should be in every bedroom, outside sleeping areas and on every level of the house, even in a basement. The alarm should be placed at least 10 feet from the stove to prevent false alarms. Alarms should be tested every month and replaced when they are 10 years old or are no longer working properly during testing.

Act quickly in case of fire

Timing is important in a fire, so advanced training and preparation is vital. Remember, saving the lives of yourself and those around you is a top priority.

“There is no time to finish work, what to do in an emergency, or take social media pictures. Human safety should be your top priority.” Renowned Fire Safety Australia, Provider of emergency response services and training.


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