Fire Safety Myths: True or False?
There are plenty of myths which fly around in regards to fire safety, and while most of it is harmless, there are some myths which can be dangerous if they feed misinformation.
This month, we’re taking a look at five of the biggest myths surrounding fire safety and signalling whether they are true or false, helping you to stay knowledgeable and safe when it comes to the subject of fire.
The flames of a fire are responsible for most of the casualties
While the flames of any fire are quite obviously dangerous, it is false to believe that they are responsible for most of the casualties in a fire. The smoke from a fire is far more dangerous, filling a building or property with dense black clouds in a short amount of time.
Whether the smoke cuts off access to oxygen and suffocates, or the toxic nature of the gases from any burning materials is inhaled, it is a dangerous situation to be in. This is how most deaths in a fire occur – but it should not be forgotten that the smoke blocking out light can leave people confused, isolating them with the flames.
Getting out before smoke fills a room is vital for survival.
Anyone sleeping will smell the smoke
People often assume that because smoke usually has a scent to it, that they will wake up if a fire occurs while they are sleeping. This is absolutely false, as people do not often wake up when smoke fills a room – anyone who does will likely only wake up once it’s too late to escape.
Many fires occur overnight, a time when we’re most vulnerable because we’re sleeping. It’s for this reason that fire alarms and smoke detectors are so important, alerting you to a fire before your escape routes are eliminated.
Once fitted, you can leave your fire alarm and smoke detectors be
Having someone else fit fire alarm system or your smoke detectors can leave many people thinking that the job of securing against a fire is complete. While it is important to have these installed, they are useless unless they are well maintained. You should test your systems regularly, especially any smoke detectors which are reliant on battery power.
It’s false to think that you can simply fit these safety measures and leave it at that. Elite Fire provide fire alarm system maintenance as well as installation and maintenance of smoke detectors, helping to keep your premises safe.
Fire extinguishers only last for 10 years
This myth may have come about because of recommendations from organisations to replace extinguishers every 10 or 20 years. In truth, neither of these is correct, since a unit in impeccable condition can last beyond this timeframe.
While they can last beyond 20 years, not many will survive general wear and tear, leading to corrosion, cracks, nozzle issues or broken handles which compromise the unit. For this reason, regular maintenance and replacement of all your fire extinguishers is recommended.
Gunpowder was used in the first fire extinguisher
This final myth is actually true. The first ever fire extinguisher was patented in 1723 in England by a man named Ambrose Godfrey. It used a gunpowder chamber to explode the unit and disperse the suppressant when a fire broke out. This design was not very effective overall, but was documented to have stopped a fire in London shop in 1729.