STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — More than 2,500 people die in house fires in the U.S., according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Firefighters in Pittsburgh just burned down a house to illustrate what steps people can take to increase their chances of surviving a blaze.
“What usually kills people is the smoke inhalation..and the temperature of the smoke,” L.A. County Fire inspector Rick Flores said.
Flores said if a resident finds themself in a house fire the first thing they should do is close their bedroom door. It helps keep out the flames, smoke and heat.
In the test home set ablaze, crews closed off the master bedroom and then left the kids’ bedroom door open. They then lit a match.
After one minute, the smoke was rising into the home.
Two minutes in, the plumes were rapidly collecting in the living room and the open kids’ room. But the master bedroom was still clear.
It took only three minutes for the flames and smoke to engulf the hallway, living room and kids’ room. While in the master the only sign of trouble was the glow at the bottom of the door.
After the fire was put out, most of the home was a charred and sooty mess. And, again, the master bedroom showed no obvious signs of damage on the wallpaper or even the white comforter.
Flores wasn’t surprised by the results: “That’s a form of protection. If you keep you door closed or try to close your door that’s going to protect you while you’re able to get out, or find a way to get out.”
“There’s a ratings on doors. Each door has a different rating. Bedroom doors are probably 20 minutes, a half hour. That will give you some time to get out the window, or whatever exit plan you have.”
The firefighter said that’s just one on a list of simple, but important, steps people can take to save their life.
Fire departments statewide urge the public to become familiar with their Exit Drills In The Home (E.D.I.T.H.) protocol. Those and other fire safety tips can be found at the L.A. County Fire Department and L.A. City Fire Department websites.
Residents can also get free smoke detectors and batteries at any L.A. city fire station.