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Don't Stand Up! Why Your Gut Instinct Is Wrong In A Fire

6:29 PM, Nov 19, 2013   |    comments
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PLEASANT GARDEN, NC -- it's the flicker that we fear. But this simulation will show you it's the smoke that should really scare you.

The Pleasant Garden Fire department burned a house down as a training exercise. Chief Ray Smith didn't want you to miss a moment that could save your life.

"We will be able to depict the differences for survivability."

Firefighter joseph Elledge  is playing your part, but with turnout gear and a tank of breathing air. 

He lays down on a bed, the fire is going.The Chief waits a least a minute and then, "Alright Joseph."

For the simulation Joseph does the one thing  you should never do: stand up.

"When you get up, straight off the bed, you go straight up in heat and smoke which is a respiratory problem immediately."

Based on national research, at this moment, your lungs would be trying to breathe-in superheated air of  600 degrees.Respiratory damage can take place at 140 degrees. 

Not to mention the air  is filled with smoke made up of toxic gases like Hydrogen Cyanide from burning plastics and Phosgene from household products.

And because smoke rises, the oxygen up by Joseph's head is being squeezed out. 

Normal oxygen levels, like when you're outside are at about 21%, 
When you add in smoke, filled with toxic gases  and particles the oxygen level easily drops below 17% and when it does your judgment and co-ordination are  impaired

So lets do this over, the right way.

"The next shot is rolling out of bed and crawling out of the room."

Notice, Joseph stays well below the smoke and the super-heated air.

The beauty of what I just showed you Is the life saving choice you can make If you wake up in time. The problem is a smouldering fire could go undetected for hours while you're asleep.

The smoke can kill you before you ever have a chance to escape. Your sense of smell isn't as keen when you're asleep. The solution? Make sure your smoke detectors are working. And by working, 2WTK means more than just the battery. Check out the extra links to this story to see how to properly check your smoke detector.

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