Are new construction materials decreasing your escape time in a house fire?

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)- The Tennessee Fire Marshal wants new homeowners to be cautious and have a fire plan handy in case of an emergency.

Tennessee is ranked 11th in the nation for fire mortality rates.

According to Underwriters Laboratories, home construction trends are changing and if a fire happens at your home you may have less time to escape.

The study shows that forty years ago, people had over 17 minutes to escape a burning home.

New construction materials are now leaving residents with less than three minutes, a concept that is not new to the State Fire Marshal’s office.

Kevin Walters says, “They are saying that changing construction trends like open floor plans and new construction materials are the main reasons for reduction in time that occupants have to escape during a home fire.”

Does this mean that while most things are improving with time, construction materials are losing their safety value?

We reached out to the Home Builders Association of Chattanooga.

Doug Fisher says, “We are essentially building houses with the same two by fours and the same concrete and the same asphalt and shingle roofs that was being built 30 years ago. It would be our thought that the discrepancies in that time frame are probably generated more about the finishing’s on houses.”

Fisher adds that the use of synthetic home finishing’s have caused a real issues for homeowners.

The Chattanooga Fire Department has multiple tips on how you can protect yourself and your family during a fires.

“We constantly stress the importance of having fire safety talks with your family. We know that house fires are not things that many folks like to think about or to plan for. It’s a scary topic. but, you really want to make sure that everyone in your household knows what to do and where to go in an event of a fire”, adds Lindsey Rogers, Chattanooga Fire Department’s P.I.O.

There are three main keys to focus on in order to be proactive instead of reactive.

“Use this spring as an opportunity to go through your home and focus on fire safety. Make sure you have working smoke alarms. Make sure you have a fire escape plan and sleep with your bedroom door closed because it will give you a barrier of protection between you and the smoke and flames that can do you harm”, adds Walters.

The Chattanooga Fire Department will bring you a smoke detector replacement if it is needed.

All you have to do is call.

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News