Homes Today Burn 8x’s Faster Than Those 50 Years Ago

Today’s home fires burn at a furious rate. All it takes 166 seconds to achieve flashover, the point at which fire spontaneous ignites and consumes an entire (sparsely furnished) room, and can happen even more quickly the more furnishings and possessions populate the room. Over the years, the time to flashover has changed, dropping dramatically from 17 minutes to just under three. Just as concerning, these fires are producing 200 times the amount of smoke than home fires a generation ago, so residents are in danger much sooner than they realize and have less time to get out safely.

Here is what is contributing to faster home fires and what you can do.

Your Furnishings May Contribute to Faster, Hotter Fires

Home furnishings 50 years ago were made from natural fibers and materials versus today’s synthetics. Synthetic materials burn faster and hotter as well as put off more toxic fumes. Synthetic materials are hydrocarbons, or a solid form of gasoline. One option is to consider buying legacy furnishings when possible.

The Amount of Possessions Plays a Role, Too

Families today have more belongings than ever before. Our homes are filled with toys, clothing, furniture, electronics and it all adds up to more fuel for faster fires. When buying, or paring down possessions, remember the fire factor.

Open Floor Plans are an Issue

While beautiful and airy, todays open floorplans contribute to faster burning fires. Homes 50 years ago had more walls which could compartmentalize or slow a fire’s progression. If you have an open floorplan, consider adding additional fire safety features such as additional smoke alarms in your fire safety measures.

Tighter Envelopes, Saver Energy but Trap in Heat and Fumes

Today’s energy efficient homes have one drawback. They also hold in smoke and heat very effectively. This means that smoke and fumes build up faster and become life-threatening much sooner. Understanding that smoke and fumes kill more people than flame in a house fire, have and regularly practice an escape plan.

Monitored Smoke Alarms Are Your Best Tool in a Home Fire

A smoke detector typically goes off within 30 seconds of a fire’s ignition and it is important to react immediately to that alarm. Having a monitored alarm means help is summoned much more quickly and providing the maximum amount of time available to escape and protect your property.

GuardMe hopes that every resident has a fire escape plan in place and utilizes a professionally monitored fire and smoke alarm system. If a fire occurs, get out immediately. For questions about fire and life safety systems, please give us a call.

Craig Metzger
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