Fire myths and facts

Do you REALLY know fire? Test your house fire facts in this quiz adapted from Kidde Canada.

  • Oct. 4, 2016 8:00 p.m.

Think you know about house fires? Think again

Do you REALLY know fire? Test your house fire facts in this quiz adapted from Kidde Canada and be aware of fire facts,myths and realities to protect the ones you love.

Myth: Pets can sense danger and usually escape a fire

Reality: Household pets are very vulnerable to fires. Smoke can damage the lungs of a dog or cat in minutes, and sparks can cause painful burns that can remain undetected under the fur.

Myth: Fire spreads slowly and takes a long time to get out of control

Reality: A small flame can turn into a major fire in less than 30 seconds, and it can take as few as 3-5 minutes for an entire house to fill with dense, dark smoke and become engulfed in flames.

Myth: Small, decorative candles do not pose a real fire risk

Reality: Candle fires have nearly tripled from a decade ago. Even a small candle can start a major fire. NEVER leave candles unattended.

Myth: In a fire, the flames are the greatest threat

Reality: Unlike fires you may have seen on TV or in films, real fires produce large amounts of thick, black smoke that obscures vision, causes nausea and may lead to unconsciousness and death. Smoke is full of toxic by-products, including carbon monoxide. These poisonous gases are responsible for most deaths and injuries in fires, not the actual flames.

Myth: Most fires happen in industrial buildings and wooded areas

Reality: Seven out of ten fires in Canada start at home. More fires begin in the kitchen than in any other room in the home.

Myth: Leaving the kitchen briefly while food is cooking is safe

Reality: Most kitchen fires occur because people get distracted and leave their cooking unattended. It takes seconds for a pot or pan to spatter grease or overheat, creating a fire that can quickly spread. Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries.

Myth: Most children know not to play with matches

Reality: Children are naturally curious, and this can be dangerous. Hundreds of children die or are seriously injured in fires each year in North America. Children are much more likely to be injured in a fire than adults.

Myth: Kids will instinctively run from fire and escape a burning home

Reality: When children see smoke or fire, they often try to hide instead of flee. Smoke can overcome a child very quickly. Parents need to teach children fire safety and escape plans, and practice with them regularly. As well, test the smoke alarm with your children present so they can recognize the sound, as studies show this can help them wake up in a real emergency.

For more information on fire safety in Alberta, contact your municipality’s fire or emergency service or the Office of the FireCommissioner at 1-800-421-6929, email firecomm@gov.ab.ca or visit www.ofc.alberta.ca and click on the Public Education tab.

 

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