Fact-Checking Fire Safety Assumptions

October 6 – 12, 2019 is recognized nationwide by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) as Fire Protection Week, a time dedicated to raising awareness to fire and home safety. The information found below was sourced from NFPA’s website.


It’s Fire Prevention Week – and what better time to educate, remind, and reassure our community about fire safety! From having a fire escape plan, testing your smoke alarms, and knowing how to lower the risks of fire, we recognize that there’s a lot of information out there about fire safety. We also recognize that not everything you see or read online is true, and that is why we are fact-checking five common assumptions about fire safety. 


Smoke detectors provide enough protection 

MYTH: It’s a fact that smoke alarms save lives – but they are just not enough on their own. Smoke detectors are part of life-saving recipe for safety in combination with additional safety measures. When properly installed and maintained, smoke detectors do a great job of alerting that there is a fire, but they don’t stop the fire from growing. Smoke detectors are a must but should not be the only fire protection measure you have. 


Escaping a house fire as quickly as possible saves lives

FACT: In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape, Plan and Practice Your Escape," and having an escape plan is just as important as installing smoke alarms. For more information on planning an escape plan, please visit NFPA’s website – and don’t forget to practice the escape plan multiple times a year!


Fire sprinklers do more damage than a fire

MYTH: Fire sprinkler systems can significantly reduce property loss and damage due to a fire. While there might be some water damage due to the sprinkler’s use, it will be much less severe than the damage caused by the fire. It’s also important to note that sprinklers can prevent damage caused by flame and smoke in the time that it takes the fire department to arrive. 


Older buildings burn slower than new homes

FACT: While every home is different, generally newer homes burn faster than older homes. Today’s homes have more synthetic materials, such as carpet, curtains, and bedding. While these synthetic materials are not unsafe, they can cause a new house to burn faster and hotter if a fire were to occur. Modern homes are also built with engineered beams and wood, which are much more hazardous than solid wood used in older buildings. You can decide what materials you fill your home with – Every shopping and decorating opportunity includes safety choices as well.


Smoking is the leading cause of house fires

MYTH: Smoking is the leading cause of home fire deaths but not the leading cause of fires.  Cooking is actually the leading cause and is the second-leading source of house fire deaths. While unattended cooking is the leading factor in home cooking fires – they are likely the more preventable. Therefore, we can prevent many cooking-related fires before they ever occur by following safe cooking practices. 

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