The United States has one of the highest fire death and injury rates in the world. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, fire is the second leading cause of accidental death in the home. More than 4,000 people die each year in home fires. Every year, there are more than 500,000 residential fires serious enough to be reported to fire departments. More than 90 percent of residential fire deaths and injuries result from fires in one and two family houses and apartments. Property losses exceed 4 billion dollars annually, and the long term emotional damage to victims and their loved ones is incalculable.
Smoke alarms save lives. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out.
A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives; but portable extinguishers have limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the number one priority for residents is to get out safely.
|Fire Class||Geometric Symbol||Pictogram||Intended Use|
|A||Green Triangle||Garbage can and wood pile burning||Ordinary solid combustibles|
|B||Red Square||Fuel container and burning puddle||Flammable liquids and gases|
|C||Blue Circle||Electric plug and burning outlet||Energized electrical equipment|
|D||Yellow Decagon (Star)||Burning Gear and Bearing||Combustible metals|
|K||Black Hexagon||Pan burning||Cooking oils and fats|
The there are many types of Fire Extinguishers, the most common home fire extinguisher is the ABC fire extinguisher. This means that it can be used to put out fires in all three of these categories. The ABC extinguisher contains an extinguishing agent and uses a compressed, non-flammable gas as a propellant.
Extinguishers are also rated by their size, which indicates how much extinguishing product is in the extinguisher and how long it will typically discharge the extinguishing agent before it is empty (this should be noted on the label). Your home extinguisher should be of the 2, 5, or 10 pound capacity. The two pound extinguisher is going to be effective only on very small fires. These are often decorative extinguishers for the kitchen and may only be rated for Type B or C fires. You will want to purchase a 5 or 10 pound extinguisher. You will be able to put out a small fire in your home and it will be of the size and weight that will make it easy to use.
Between 1965 and 1973, aluminum wiring was used to install electrical branch circuits in about 1.5 million homes in the United States. The National Fire Protection Association and U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission have found that homes using aluminum wires manufactured before 1972 are 55 times more likely to have one or more electrical connections reach “fire hazard” condition than homes wired with copper.
Aluminum wiring in itself is not dangerous. When properly installed, it can be just as safe as copper. But if it has not been installed properly, the connections—where the wires join to the outlets and switches—can present a fire hazard.
Denver’s Fire Code consists of the International Fire Code and specific Denver Amendments to that code. The base International Fire Code does not permit barbecues on balconies, period--no exceptions. However, the Denver Amendments do allow barbecuing on balconies with small, controllable amounts of fuel. Click here for a copy of this code section/amendment.
For new construction, we encourage developers to put natural gas connections for barbecue grills into new residential complexes. For existing buildings, the Denver Amendments provide an exception by which people can barbecue with a 1-lb. cylinder of propane (enough for two or three cooking sessions) and one extra 1-lb. bottle. No permit is required. Charcoal barbecues are not allowed on any building balconies.
Grill Fires - National Report
The year-end holiday season--Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s--is also fire season, a prime time for residential fires. Decorative lights, combustible decorations, candles, special cooking, home decorating, parties where people drink and smoke and, most of all, the onset of the heating appliance season, all increase the likelihood of a fire.
View our Holiday Safety Tips.
The City and County of Denver requires that all homes have functioning smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers--devices that have proven effective nationally in reducing the risk of death in home fires. Read the Residential Fire Safety Handout, which explains the requirements.
If you are a resident or an owner/manager of a multi-family residence, such as an apartment house or a condominium association, there are special requirements for periodic testing and reporting of these systems for multi-family residences. If you are a tenant at a multi-family residence, then you will need to inform your HOA/Management company that you have inspected your smoke alarms and CO (carbon monoxide) detectors and have replaced the batteries, unless the management is doing the required maintenance for you. Download and read the Residential Fire Safety Equipment Report and provide the report to your HOA/management company. If you are an HOA/owner/or management company, then you will need to fill out a Certificate of Compliance verifying that you have reminded your tenants and owners of their responsibility to check their smoke alarms or CO detectors, or that you have entered the property and have performed this maintenance yourself.
In 2007, there were an estimated 399,000 reported home structure fires and 2,865 associated civilian deaths in the United States. Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as two minutes to escape safely once the alarm sounds. Your ability to get out depends on advance warning from smoke alarms, and advance planning — a home fire escape plan that everyone in your family is familiar with and has practiced.