When it comes to fire safety, you need to separate fact from fiction, reality from myth, truth from lie. In the heat of the moment (pun intended), you cannot afford to make a mistake. One slight misstep can be the difference between life and death, injury and safety. This can happen from simply thinking you have more time than you actually do when a fire starts. So, what are people generally wrong about when it comes to fire safety? What are some common misconceptions?
Myth #1: When a fire breaks out, the fire itself causes the most casualties.
Fact: The smoke is generally what injures or kills people when there is a fire. Smoke can fill an entire house in about three to five minutes. The smoke can become very toxic from carbon monoxide and various materials that it burns through. You can easily choke, become disoriented, and fall unconscious simply from inhaling smoke.
Myth #2: Statistically, there are more casualties caused by non-residential fires than residential ones.
Fact: According to FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), residential fires are the leading property type for fire dollar loss (52.2%), fire injuries (79.1%), and fire deaths (75.7%). Make sure you have working smoke detectors in all of your bedrooms in your home, as well as your kitchen. Make sure you have a home evacuation plan that you have discussed and practiced with your family.
Myth #3: No need to rush. You have enough time to escape the fire. It doesn’t spread so fast.
Fact: A tiny flame can become an enormous fire in less than a minute, especially if flammable materials are nearby. Each minute after that, it can double in size. This can lead to the fire getting so hot that there is a flashover. A flashover is when everything ignites at once.
Myth #4: Your alarm will sound and warn you before the fire starts.
Fact: “The smoke detector will alert me before there’s an actual fire. No need to hurry and check why it’s gone off. The fire hasn’t started yet. It’s just some smoke.” That is the common thinking and misconception that many people have. This is simply not true of most smoke detectors. Some can detect them in the early stages, but for the most part, when your smoke alarm goes off, don’t take any chances.
Myth #5: Once a fire sprinkler goes off, they all activate.
Fact: This is something that time and time again is perpetuated by movies and television. You always see all of the sprinklers going off at the same time. In reality, sprinklers react in each room individually. The sprinkler closest to the fire activates. Ninety percent of fires are contained by just one sprinkler.
Don’t just assume when it comes to fire safety. It is highly important to know and understand what is fact and what is fiction when it comes to this serious matter. Educate yourself. Be knowledgeable. Be alert. But most importantly, be safe.
What other common misconceptions do you think people believe about fire safety?