When it comes to safety, there is a lot that can be done to prevent fire, fight fire, and escape fire. Knowing there is a fire in your home or office is the first step. Attempting to put it out is the second (assuming it is not yet out of control). The third step is evac. It is pointless to risk your life once the fire is out of control and you have means of escape. What items should you have in your home or place of work to detect, fight, and escape fire? We rank 4 items (based on practicality, ease-of-use, cost, and effectiveness) that everyone should keep or have installed in their home or place of work, just in case.
Fire sprinklers were only present in 10% of structure fires between 2007 and 2011. Structures with sprinklers had an 82% lower fire death rate per 1000 reported home structure fires. Property damage was 68% lower. When operated, the fire sprinklers were successful 96% of the time. Due to the high cost of installation ($1.35 per square foot according to the National Fire Protection Agency), fire sprinklers are number four on the list.
Fire sprinklers will not help against electrical fires. In fact, it is dangerous because you may receive an electric shock. SkySaver is very easy to use and much faster than regular means of escape. It only takes 45 seconds to descend from 8 floors, whereas it can take from 5-10 minutes to evacuate the 8th floor by foot. It can take between 3-5 minutes for first responders to arrive, whereas after minute 1 you have the SkySaver on, after minute 2 you have begun your descent, and after minute 3, when first responders have just arrived, you are safely on the ground.
A UK study in 2002 found that fire extinguishers put out 80% of all fires, and in 75% of those cases, the fire department was not required to attend. In 60% of all fire incidents, the fire department is not notified, most likely due to fire extinguishers. There were 1,997,250 fires handled by fire extinguishers in 2010, without the fire department being notified. The estimated property loss savings due to fire extinguishers is $4.998 billion.
The smoke detector gets the number one slot. Your chances of death in a fire are reduced by half with a working smoke detector. About 900 lives annually would be saved in the United States if all homes had working smoke detectors. Nearly half of all survivors remember hearing the smoke alarm. Since the smoke detector was invented (ionization smoke detectors started being sold in the US in 1951), deaths due to fire have decreased by half. The majority of fire deaths happen at night, when people are asleep. The reason the smoke detector receives the number one slot is that even if you have all of the other items on the list, if you are unaware that there is a fire, it won’t matter. Smoke detectors are the first step, the warning to use items two through four.