Building Fires

Building Fires


Be prepared:

  • If you live in an apartment building or work in an office building, know the location of the nearest fire exits. You should know two or more evacuation options for each floor. Never use elevator
  • Practice evacuation during nonemergency conditions so that you will be familiar with it. For example count the number of doors from your office to the nearest fire exit and rehearse it several times. Be able to find the way to the exit with yours eyes closed. There could be no visibility during an actual fire.
  • Have ways to escape from higher floors. Ensure all fire escapes open and operate correctly especially in older buildings.
  • If renting, know the building you live in and report any flaws that can be life threatening.


What to do in a fire:

  • Flames move upward and heat and smoke rise, so stay low and as close to the floor as possible.
  • If trapped in room with a window that doesn’t fully open, smash glass in center with an object and cover the jagged edges with a towel or blanket before exiting.
  • If you must jump, you the PLF or the parachute landing fall. Lower yourself as far as possible then push off of the wall. Keep your legs bent with your knees and feet together. After you let go, bring both of your hands in front of your body with your fists close to your face. This will spread the landing impact throughout your body.
  • Get away from the burning structure


Statistics of building fires:

National estimates for nonresidential building fires in 2011, the most recent year data are available, are:

—Fires: 85,400.
—Deaths: 80.
—Injuries: 1,100.
—Dollar Loss: $2,435,700,000.

National estimates for the major causes of fires in nonresidential buildings for 2011, the most recent year data are available, are:

  1. Cooking: 24,100 fires.
    2. Intentional: 8,900 fires.
    3. Other Unintentional, Careless: 8,400 fires.

National estimates for the three leading causes of nonresidential building fire dollar loss for 2011, the most recent year data are available, are:

  1. Other Equipment: $483,400,000.
    2. Electrical Malfunction: $302,600,000.
    3. Other Unintentional, Careless: $277,500,000.

The number one deadliest building fire in the U.S. was the world trade center on September 11th, 200. 2,600 people were killed in this fire.


Courtley, C. (2012). SEAL survival guide: A Navy SEAL’s secrets to surviving any disaster. New York: Gallery Books.

U.S. Fire Administration. (n.d.). Retrieved October 29, 2014.


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