|Most home fires occur in the kitchen while cooking and are the leading cause of injuries from fire. However, they are often extinguished with only minor damage since a person is generally present. Common causes of fires at night are carelessly discarded cigarettes, sparks from fireplaces without spark screens or glass doors, and heating appliances left too close to furniture or other combustibles. These fires can be particularly dangerous because they may smolder for a long period of time before being discovered by sleeping residents.
Most victims of fire succumb to the smoke and toxic gases and not to burns. Fire produces poisonous gases that can spread rapidly and far from the fire itself to claim victims who are asleep and not even aware of the fire. Even if residents awaken, the effects of exposure to these gases can cloud their thinking and slow their reactions so that they cannot make their escape. This is why it is so crucial for you and your family to have sufficient warning so that you can all escape before your ability to think and move is impaired. In addition, more than half of fatal fires in homes occur when people are asleep ' this represents only a third of a 24-hour day. Therefore, any fire protection system must be able to protect people who are asleep in their bedrooms when fire starts.
Furthermore, nearly half the people killed in home fires each year are either preschool children or adults 65 years old or older. Add people with physical, mental, or emotional handicaps, and it is clear that home fire protection must be designed for people with limitations. That is why every fire safety program should include provisions for people with special needs.