TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Americans have been noting Fire Prevention Week in October for nearly 100 years. In today’s Angie’s List report, some startling new information homeowners need to know about contemporary living that has had a dramatic and dangerous effect on how quickly modern homes burn.
Less than five minutes – that’s all the time you have to get out of your home safely once a fire starts… down significantly from the 17 minutes you used to have before engineered lumber, synthetic furnishings and open floor plans started turning small fires into a flashover very quickly.
This demonstration shows you just how quickly a small trash fire can spread. It’s also the reason many fire safety experts and insurance companies are now recommending home sprinkler systems, which can cut your chance of dying in a fire by about 80 percent.
More than 32-hundred lives were lost and more than 14-billion dollars in property damage occurred in fires across the country last year. This controlled burn of a modernly furnished eight-by-eight-foot room flashed over in just about two minutes. A similar room with a working sprinkler system never reached flashover, preventing more extensive damage and, more importantly, the formation of toxic smoke that is the primary cause of death for victims of indoor fires.
Angie says a typical single-family home can be equipped with adequate sprinkler coverage for five-to-10-thousand dollars. She recommends getting at least three estimates from experienced fire security companies along with details of their system. Obviously, working fire extinguishers and alarms are key, too. If fire breaks out, get yourself and your family out to safety before calling 9-1-1, she says.