Why the difference? Experts say modern design is the culprit.
“Open floor plans provide oxygen and don’t provide barriers,” notes a recent article in the Washington Post. “And synthetic building materials and furnishings burn at a much faster rate than the natural products used decades ago.”
Approximately seven Americans die every day in house fires, notes the Post. To increase your chances of surviving a fire, the newspaper offers these safety tips:
Before a fire
Install smoke alarms in every bedroom and outside “each sleeping area” and on every level of your home. “And those alarms should be wirelessly connected to one another, so that if there’s a fire in your basement, for example, the alarm in your bedroom will go off.”
Determine two ways to escape any room in your house (including windows), and be sure those exits are clear.
Routinely hold family fire drills.
Make sure your address is clearly visible from the street so that fire fighters can find you.
Close your bedroom door when sleeping. This keeps smoke out and temperatures lower, “giving you precious extra minutes to evacuate.”
Plan a meeting place outside the home so that family members will know when everyone has safely evacuated the house.
During a fire
Block the smoke. “If you are stuck in a room, close the doors and windows, and put wet fabric over openings where smoke can get in,” notes the Post.
Stay low. Since smoke rises, crawling or bending down can help you avoid its dangers.
Close doors or windows behind you. This will lower the amount of oxygen fueling the fire.
Don’t go back inside. This is highly dangerous. Let firefighters rescue those still trapped in the house.
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