Fires in New Homes Deadlier than Fires in Older Homes

FEMA

This article, entitled "Fires in New Homes Deadlier than Fires in Older Homes," is presented by U.S. Fire Administration/FEMA, National Association of State Fire Marshals, International Association of Fire Chiefs, National Fire Protection Association, Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors and other national non-profit organizations that make up the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.

House fires in newer homes can be more deadly than those in older structures. Why?

Thanks to energy efficient construction and building materials, today's homes burn differently than homes that went up in flames 20 years ago! In a fire, newer houses become deadly in less than three minutes:

  • Airtight construction and lightweight materials such as composite hollow doors, double glazed (vinyl) windows and gypsum board wall linings save energy, but make for incredibly fast-spreading fires.
  • Open floor plans with fewer rooms, high ceilings and two stories cause extremely fast collapse of a home¹s infrastructure, making fighting a fire inside it impossible, and escape times before flashover impossibly short.
  • Contents of today¹s homes -- polyurethane foam-filled furniture, electronic appliances and computers -- quickly explode into billowing, poisonous smoke.
  • While homeowners love their shiny granite countertops, larger bathtubs and hardwood floors, it¹s just as easy to overlook one thing that will truly shock most viewers: In the event of a fire, most of them will become deadly in less than three minutes, before the fire department arrives, or your family has a chance to escape to safety!



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