According to the Red Cross fires cause over $7 billion in property damage each year & around 7 people die each day from home fires. Just last week in London a high rise apartment building caught on fire with over 600 residents inside. There were over 79 fatalities. According to a report from CBS News, the building had a history of numerous complaints about fire safety regulations throughout the past 3 years. The fire took only six minutes to spread six floors up. The external cladding that was installed in 2016 is believed to be the cause of the rapid spread of the fire. British & Australian officials has since started removing similar type cladding from other buildings.
Other contributing factors included a non-functioning sprinkler system and the lack of fire extinguishers. The building owners had also sent out a newsletter to the residents in 2016 telling them that in the case of a fire they should not leave the building unless the fire was inside their own apartment. This horrible advice may have also contributed to the high death rate.
Unfortunately, it often takes a tragedy such as this one to heighten concern and awareness about fire safety. The Red Cross is a great resource to learn about fire safety. Here are some of the top safety tips:
- Fire Alarms are one of the most important items to help save lives & your property. If you own a business sprinklers & a fire alarm system that contacts the fire department are a very good idea.
- Make sure that your family & employees know the evacuation route in the case of a fire. Different routes should be planned in case an area of the office is blocked by fire.
- In the case of a fire immediately leave the building & do not go back inside for ANY reason.
CBS News. “London high-rise had history of fire safety complaints”. June 14, 2017. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/fire-in-london-high-rise-grenfell-tower-residents-complained-lax-fire-safety-standards/
American Red Cross. “Home Fire Prevention”. http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/fire