Fires, and burns caused by fire, are some of the most devastating events imaginable, especially since many fires are preventable and avoidable. The destruction caused by fires, inside and outside the home, can be catastrophic, causing major damage, and in many cases, serious injury and death.
Fire can strike without warning, any place, any time. According to the National Fire Protection Association, hundred of thousands of fires in the United States each year cause over 15,000 deaths and serious injuries. These numbers are astonishing.
What you should know about house fires and fire safety:
- When there is a fire, temperatures can rise to hundreds of degrees in just a few seconds. This makes escaping difficult, and if you don't move quickly enough to get away from the fire, your chances of getting seriously injured or dying increases drastically.
- It has been determined that one breathe of intense heat can cause severe lung damage and may cause a person to become unconscious immediately.
- Fire can move very fast and it can block your escape route in a matter of seconds. In the confusion, you can panic, become disoriented, and find yourself surrounded by the flames.
- Although fire does provides some light, when it is intense, it produces dark and heavy smoke, which darkens the air and makes it hard to see and breathe.
- Smoke and fumes are just as deadly and may be a major cause of death during fires.
- Most fire fatalities happen between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. This is the time when most people are asleep and, unless there is a fire alarm going off, they may not wake up in time to make an escape. Many people have been found dead in their beds after a fire which suggests that they may not have awaken.
- Many people don't practice escape drills or have a plan in place and don't keep flashlights near their beds or where they can easily put their hands on them.
- During a fire, time is of the essence. A house fire can grow tremendously fast in just seconds, which leaves little time to think about what needs to be done. You must act immediately to get your family to safety.
Alarms, sprinkler systems, extinguishers, and smoke detectors have made a valuable impact in drastically reducing the number of injuries and deaths caused by fires, but much more needs to be done to continue educating people about fires and how to prevent them in the first place.