Consumer Reports shares rules for fire safety

With better building codes and smoke alarms becoming more prevalent, the number of house fires in the U.S. has dropped by half since 1980.

With better building codes and smoke alarms becoming more common, the number of house fires reported in the U.S. has dropped by half since 1960.

Despite the process, the fires that do happen are much deadlier with the number of deaths rising since 2010.

Simon Glinsek had to evacuate his entire family from his home after the drier caught fire.

“Smoke ... like white smoke billowing out of the drier area. So smoke had just fallen so fast. I noticed that it doesn’t really hover at the top, but goes all over the place. It just went so fast, it boggles my mind how fast it goes,” Glinsek said.

Consumer Reports said house fires today burn faster, hotter, and are deadlier than ever.

They said the one main reason is time.

“40 years ago, you would have had 17 minutes to get out of a house on fire. Today? Just three minutes,” John Galeotafiore with Consumer Reports said.

CR said in part, popular open-plan houses are one reason for the change.

With fewer walls and doors, fires travel faster and more freely.

Another culprit? Today’s furniture.

“A lot of homes today have furnishings made with synthetic materials like plastic or particleboard, which burn much quicker than solid wood,” Galeotafiore said.

CR said some classic advice still holds true today – have at least one smoke detector and one class “ABC” fire extinguisher per floor of your home and check them monthly.

They also recommend dual-sensor alarms from First Alert and Kidde – both got perfect scores for detecting flaming and smoldering fires.

If you need to use your extinguisher, use the pass method.

Pull the pin, aim the nozzle toward the base of the fire, squeeze the trigger, then sweep from side to side.

Here are more helpful tips, according to CR:

Don’t leave lithium-ion batteries, like the ones you use for your power tools, charging overnight, and only use the charger that came with it

Replace outlets that don’t grip plugs with arc-fault circuit interrupters, also known as AFCI outlets

Have an escape plan in place and practice it with everyone in your household.

“We always talked about it, go by the tree, anything like that, you always sit by the tree, we’ll meet up right there. That does work,” Glinsek said.


About the Authors:

You can watch Brittny during the week anchoring the 5, 7 and 11 p.m. newscasts on WSLS 10 and reporting on news that matters to you.

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.