THUNDER BAY – LIVING – Have action movies and Teflon superheroes lulled us into a false sense of security when it comes to home fires? On screen, the good guys survive fires with ease and have time for dramatic rescues among the flames.
The Reality: You have less than 2 minutes to escape your home when fire strikes. Between 2500 and 3000 Americans die in home fires every year.
“We have been so successful in reducing the number of fires, people often do not think they are going to be impacted by a [home] fire,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy for the National Fire Prevention Association. “The level of complacency in the community means they may not be as careful as they should be. Hollywood keeps misleading us. We’ve seen movie heroes hold a small flame to a sprinkler head to set off all the sprinklers on the floor. Big myth”.
The Reality: Only the high temperature that results from a fire will activate a sprinkler, so fire near one head will not set off all the sprinklers. Often one sprinkler head is enough to limit a fire or even put it out before the fire department arrives.
“The unfortunate reality is a number of jurisdictions have removed the provision for home fire sprinklers in their adoption process for their building code,” said Carli. “The model code is the minimum level of safety and a jurisdiction that decides to take that [sprinkler] requirement out is in fact allowing substandard homes to be built in that community.”
The majority of fire deaths happen at home.
However, home is where we feel safe and secure. “How many of us are overlooking fire safety issues that are staring us in the face?,” asks PJ Wade, featured columnist at RealtyTimes.com.