While many fires are preventable, they cause more than 4,000 deaths and injure more than 20,000 people in the U.S. each year. Direct property loss due to fires is estimated at $10 billion annually.
To protect yourself, it is important to understand the basic characteristics of fire. Fire spreads quickly; there is no time to gather valuables or make a phone call. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.
Heat and smoke from fire can be more dangerous than the flames. Inhaling the super-hot air can sear your lungs. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall into a deeper sleep. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio.
For more information on protecting your home and family from fire visit the After the Fire page.