Posted on: October 16, 2017
By: Alan O'Neill
Posted in: Press Releases
Before you have a house fire, you need to have a escape plan and a prevention plan. You won’t have time to stop for your wedding photos or important papers; you need to get your family to safety. According to a segment on the TODAY Show, you have even less time to get out that you thought.
Research shows that 30 years ago, you had about 17 minutes to escape a house fire.
Today it’s down to three or four minutes. The reason: Newer homes and the furniture inside them actually burn faster. A lot faster.
To demonstrate, Rossen Reports went to Underwriters Laboratories in Chicago, where two rooms were built side by side: one a flashback to the ’70s or ’80s with real wood and many natural materials, and the other a modern one with a lot of synthetic fibers, from the curtains to the couch to even the coffee table.
As firefighters stood by, a fire set to a sofa pillow in the modern room quickly spread across the sofa and jumped to other furniture: a lamp, an end table, a chair and coffee table. Within 3 minutes, flames were going through the roof.
“The backing of your carpet is synthetic, your drapes are synthetic, the couch, the pillows are synthetic,” explained John Drengenberg, consumer safety director for UL. “They burn hotter and faster than natural materials do.”
A similar fire set to the sofa pillow in the room simulating an older home burned for several minutes without even catching the rest of the sofa. At 15 minutes the room was still intact; it wound up taking 30 minutes for the room to burn.
The American Home Furnishings Alliance, an industry group, told NBC News it supports a federal flammability standard for upholstered furniture, but only if product changes are safe, effective and affordable.
Until then: “When your smoke alarm goes off you don’t have time to look around, get your wedding pictures,” Drengenberg said. “You get out as quickly as you can.”
The National Association of Home Builders, another industry group, told NBC News that new building codes make houses safer. But fire experts say to have a fire escape plan for your family. The Red Cross has an easy worksheet to help you create one.
As you make your escape plan, you also need to consider other things you can do to prevent the need for an escape plan. Some of these things are just simple everyday things, others are more intensive or should be part of our yearly maintenance. Travelers Insurance has a page listing items that we can address in our homes.
Using our claim data, we have developed a list of the most common causes of fire-related losses as well as some things you can do to help prevent them. Faulty Wiring and Outlets Are One of the Top Causes of House Fires.
Carelessness in the Kitchen May Also Lead to a House Fire.
Clothes Dryers Are Another Common Source of House Fires.
Alternative Heating Sources May Also Create a Fire Hazard.
Dirty Chimneys Also Pose a Fire Hazard.
Every homeowner needs to have a reliable, experience home service company. Annual inspections of a home’s HVAC system, Electrical system, and plumbing need to be performed to keep these systems regularly maintained. Proper maintenance can prevent fires and keep your systems running efficiently.
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