Living in Florida, we deal with we are accustomed to worrying about lots of different risks when it comes to home safety. We are fully aware of hurricane safety and the monstrous disaster that comes with each winding storm. Therefore, we know about the occasional tornado warning, and generally, have some knowledge on how to deal with small scale floods. However, when it comes to fire safety, there can be a slight learning curve. Natural wildfires and accidental home fires are the leading causes of fire damage in Florida. Small and large scale fires can be hard to deal with due to the local inexperience with fires, which is why it should be of utmost importance to learn about fire safety.
As we all know, because of the heat, Florida summers can be unbearable. There are times where it feels like you could cook an egg on your car dashboard (you actually can!). During this infernal heat, we experience a series of different weather types. You can have your summer tropical showers cycling by for a week straight, then in the blink of an eye, you have a dry spell for weeks to come. I guess you could say it’s pretty hard to determine what you’re going to get. With each circumstance, however, comes a rise in a fire hazard.
The situation that we are generally more familiar with are the wildfires caused by intense lightning storms. Most lightning strikes take place during the summer, from the months of July and August. During a 10-year study performed by Vaisala, they concluded that Florida has 3,500 clouds to ground lightning strikes per day. That is 3,500 chances for a fire to take place in our communities. What makes this surprising is that even though the impending showers wet most of the land, wildfires caused by lightning still take place pretty often, and are worth learning about in case the situation were to present itself.
During droughts, our trees and the surrounding shrubbery get as dry as they’ll get the entire year. This leads to many chances for an accidental spark to lead to a massive wildfire. Make sure that you inform those around you that partake in smoking that they dispose of all materials in the correct fashion, and aren’t just throwing their cigarette butts into combustible wildlife. Much of our land in Florida has ground beneath the outer layer of soil that is made up of loose, organic material known as muck. This material can be ignited by a fire on the surface, producing an annoying blaze. This flame can remain ablaze and leave embers aflame underneath the soil, even after the surface fire has been taken care of. 20% of all fire deaths and 25% of fire injuries are caused by wildfires. While this is an alarming rate, the other side of that flaming coin is the most dangerous part of live fires.
While a small percentage of wildfires are caused by smoking or smoking materials, smoking does lead to a bigger and worse danger, home fires. From the years of 2012-2016, while smoking and its materials only caused 5% of home fires. That same 5% resulted in 23% of all fire-related civilian deaths, making it the leading cause of home fire deaths. During the same span of years, U.S. fire officials responded to a projected average of over 350,00 home structure fires. These dangerous flames lead to over 11,600 civilian injuries and about 2,500 civilian deaths. The alarming side of this burning coin is that 80% of fire deaths and around 75% of fire-related injuries were caused by home fires. Even though smoking leads to only a small percentage of home fires, it, unfortunately, causes the most danger.
Home Structure Fires
Furthermore, the leading cause of home fires is a result of cooking and cooking equipment. Just about half of all home fires come from some sort of cooking mishap. Second to only smoking, cooking related fires take up 21% of civilian fire deaths and lead in civilian injuries (45% of all injuries). Be sure that you and your family are aware of the dangers around cooking so they can take precaution and we can lower the number of home fires in the U.S. On average, seven people die a day due to home fires and costs around $6.5 billion in property damage. The other causes of home fires come from heating systems, electrical lighting and distribution, and the unfortunate intentional fire. Our goal is to spread as much knowledge as possible so we can knock down the number of home structure fires.
With all of that in mind, we want you to have peace of mind in your home. We aim to help you and your family stay safe in any fire situation by giving you some information on what to do. Whether it be before, during or after the fire.
Here are some tips to help you and your family stay safe:
Preventative measures to take:
• Make sure your family knows how to call 911, even smaller children should be taught once they understand how to
• Teach your family how smoke alarms work, what to do when once one is going off, replace the batteries once a year and make sure you have the correct number of alarms.
• Create an escape plan and a form of communication in case a fire were to break out. Teach others to look for at least two exits in each room, and where to meet in case you exit from different parts of the home. Practicing this step a few times a year will help the family be ready for anything.
• Practice Stop, Drop and Roll with those in your home should their clothing catch on fire.
• Have a phone number for a restoration professional handy should you ever need one.
• Understand how to operate a fire extinguisher and when to use it.
During a fire:
• Scream “Fire!” as many times as you can and go outside immediately, using stairs if you live in a building with elevators.
• Once you’re outside, STAY OUTSIDE and CALL 911!
• Go to the designated meeting area and communicate with your family.
• If your exit route has closed doors, feel the door handle carefully first. If the handle is hot or warm, DO NOT open that door and use your second source of escape.
• If flames, smoke or heat block all of your exits, stay in the room with all doors closed. If possible, place a wet towel under the door and call 911. If on a second or higher floor, open a window and wave a bright piece of clothing or light to help signal others.
• If there are no other options but to go through the smoke, get low and go under the smolder towards your exit. Close the doors behind you if possible.
After the fire:
• Ensure that someone has called the authorities.
• Transport people and animals that are burned or injured to a professional medical center or veterinary office for immediate help, unless another direction is given to you by authorities.
• Let loved ones know that you’re safe.
• DO NOT reenter the home until the fire authorities say that it is safe for reentry.
• Call a restoration professional as soon as the flames are taken care of to prevent further damage.
These are some of the many tips and tricks to keep in mind when dealing with fire safety. I’ll go more in-depth with preventative measures in the coming weeks.
If you live in the Greater Orlando area, your first call should be to 911. Your very next call should be to CEO Restoration, your damage restoration professionals. We have crews on stand-by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No one should have to deal with a fire, but if you do, we are here to help you with every step of the way.
Call us at (407) 584-7779 for all of your Orlando damage restoration needs. Whether it be fire, mold, water or any other damage, give us a call, we are here to help.