Residents urged to develop, practice fire escape routes
|Price Fire Chief Paul Bedont and the Price fire department rush into a burning building earlier this summer. Bedont would like to remind all Carbon County residents of the importance of smoke detectors and an escape plan. |
Every year, hundreds of people are killed and injured as a result of fire.
October is fire prevention month. As part of the nationwide event, Price Chief Paul Bedont along with all local fire department officials encourage Carbon County residents to focus on early detection and escape plans in the event of an emergency situation.
Bedont reported that most deaths and injuries could be avoided through the installation of smoke alarms and the pre planning of escape routes. He stipulated that this year's focus for fire officials is on educating the public about smoke alarms and home fire safety plans.
"The purpose of a smoke alarm is to quickly alert the occupants of a building to a fire and give them enough time to safely exit the building," said Bedont. "Not all smoke alarms are the same. There are basically two types of smoke alarm technologies in use today, photoelectric and ionization. While both of these types of alarms will function in your home, they detect different types of fires at different rates."
With the use of synthetics in today's home construction and furnishings, Bedont stated that emergency departments are seeing different fire behaviors.
"Wood and natural fibers burn very quickly and home fires associated with these products tend to be move through a home very fast," said the Price chief. "Synthetic fibers such as those used in most carpeting, furniture, counter tops and vinyl flooring tend to smolder longer before breaking into open flame. While these smoldering fires generally move slower, they produce large amounts of toxic smoke."
According to fire prevention data, current smoke alarms react to different types of fires at different rates.
For example, the ionization smoke alarm will react to the fast moving heavy flame fires associated with natural materials quickly. However, it is slower to react to those smoldering fires associated with synthetic products.
The photoelectric smoke alarm will react to the smoldering synthetic material fires very quickly, but is slower to react to open flame fires.
"Fortunately we now have smoke alarms available which utilize both photoelectric and ionization technologies, said Bedont." "By combining these technologies the alarm manufacturers produce an alarm which will react quickly to both natural material and synthetic material fires."
According to the Price chief, the fire alarm industry has also incorporated 10 year lithium batteries and radio wave interconnection in some of the modern smoke alarms.
"The interconnectivity of all alarms is a giant step in fire protection," said Bedont. "If one alarm activates, all alarms activate. This will give extra time to evacuate the home and speed up the fire departments response. All of these technologies can be combined into a smoke alarm system which will alert the occupants of a home very quickly."
The Price chief suggests, that it is best to have at least one smoke alarm in every bedroom. If that is not possible, Bedont recommends that residents try to install smoke alarms in hallways leading to the sleeping areas in homes.
"All smoke alarm manufacturers offer advice on the proper installation of smoke alarms," said Bedont. "The new technology smoke alarms with 10 year batteries and interconnectivity can generally be purchased for under $80. Not all stores in Price carry these new type detectors and you may have to ask the store manager to order them for you, but the safety they offer will be worth the extra effort. The savings in alkaline batteries alone can be as much as $75, let alone the comfort you will have in knowing you have taken steps to protect your family."
Fire prevention officials caution that all of the alarm technology in the world will not prevent injury unless a home evacuation plan is made and practiced.
The average home fire will double in size every 30 to 60 seconds.
According to Bedont, a match size fire can engulf a room in less than three minutes.
"Exits which are normally used may become impassable due to heavy smoke or flames," cautioned the chief. "At least two exit routes should be identified in every occupied bedroom. Children and adults should know these evacuation routes in the event the smoke alarm sounds. Once outside of the home a meeting place should be designated so that all family members can be accounted for. Once at the meeting place, someone should call 911 to alert the fire department."
If you have any questions about smoke alarms, their placement or home fire prevention, please contact the nearest local fire department or official.