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Hot Facts about House Fires

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  • Approximately 70 Oklahomans die each year in house fires.
  • In only 3 1/2 minutes, the heat from a house fire can reach over 1100 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature can reach over 300 degrees in rooms that are not even on fire; this is hot enough to melt plastic and kill the people in those rooms.
  • Fire produces gases and fumes that can make you sleepy, weak, and confused. You can't smell these fumes, so if you are asleep the smell won't wake you — but a smoke alarm will.
  • One out of three people who die in house fires were asleep when the fire began.
  • Unlike fires in the movies, the smoke from a house fire can be so thick that your house would be completely dark in 4 minutes, even with all the lights on!
  • Heating devices such as heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces are a leading cause of house fires in Oklahoma. Most often the fires start when furniture, boxes, clothing, etc. are too near the heat source.
  • Cigarettes are a leading cause of house fires. Most often the fires start when a cigarette was dropped on to furniture like beds, sofas, or chairs.
  • Children playing with fire cause many injuries and house fires every year.
  • Two out of five people injured in house fires were trying to fight the fire.

Surviving a House Fire

  • Smoke alarms increase the chances of surviving a house fire by 2 to 3 times.
    • Install a smoke alarm just outside the sleeping areas.
    • Never remove the battery from the smoke alarm.
    • Use smoke alarms with long-life lithium batteries, or replace batteries in regular alarms annually or when the alarm chirps.
    • Smoke alarms are a cheap and effective way to prevent house fire injuries.
  • Some children run and hide when the smoke alarm sounds a house fire warning.
  • Making and practicing a house fire escape plan helps everyone get out safe.
    • Always know two ways out of every room (i.e., window and door).
    • Crawl low under smoke to a safe exit.
    • Use the back of the hand to test if a closed door is hot. If it is hot, use another way out.
    • Everyone meet at a previously designated meeting place outside the home.
    • Call 911 from a neighbor's home.
    • Never go back inside a burning home to get anything such as clothes or pets.

Internet Resources

Injury Prevention Service, OSDH, 1000 NE 10th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73117
Revised June 2011

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