First responders report that fires recently are burning hotter and faster, likely due to the increase in synthetic furniture and home decor.
Synthetic furniture and decor have been popular because they are cheaper than natural ones. However, most synthetics are made of petroleum (like gasoline), which could result in your house going up in flames in minutes. When synthetics burn, the chemicals released can replace oxygen in the body within two to three minutes of exposure, choking out anyone nearby.
An experiment tested the burn time of two rooms, one furnished with synthetic furniture and the other with natural materials, and demonstrated the difference between synthetic and natural materials.
The room with synthetic furnishings was full of flames and smoke within minutes. Flashover, or floor-to-ceiling flames, occurred as quickly as three minutes and forty seconds. On the other hand, the room with natural furnishings took almost half an hour before flashover. The company that conducted the experiment concluded that modern home fires burn eight times faster.
As a result, firefighters are under more pressure and in more danger than ever before, not only from the greater intensity of the flames but also from the chemicals released when synthetics are burned. In fact, cancer has recently overtaken heart disease as the leading cause of death of firefighters. The exposure to these chemicals affects not only firefighters but homeowners and others in the building when the synthetics are burned.
Some tips to protect your home and the people inside it in case of a fire include:
- Avoid open concept homes and close doors when possible. In the case of a fire, a closed door between you and the fire can keep temperatures down and provide more than double the oxygen to breathe compared to if the door was open.
- Make sure your fire protection systems are up-to-date and fully functional. For inspections, maintenance and repairs of your fire protection systems, contact CJ Suppression at (951) 735-5560 for a free quote.
- Create an escape plan for your home and ensure that all members of your family are well-versed in what to do in the case of an emergency.