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Every Second Counts in a Building Fire

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October 2, 2015

Facing the Facts About Building Fires in the U.S.

Every Second in a FireEvery day building fires kill, maim, and destroy. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), every day in the U.S. there is an average of:

• 1,353 structural fires
• 43 people injured in building fires
• 9 fatalities in structural fires
• $26.8 million dollars in structural property losses caused by fires

Underestimating the Danger of Building Fires

Too many people blindly assume they will never be caught in a building fire. However, the evidence leaves no room for debate:

  • Roughly, one in every 320 households reports a house fire every year.
  • 60% of residential fire fatalities occur in homes without working smoke alarms.
  • Surveys show only 33% of Americans have produced and practiced a family fire escape route.
  • 55% of those injured in home cooking-related fires were hurt while trying to extinguish the blaze themselves.
  • 32% of those surveyed believed they would have at least 6 minutes to escape before a home fire became life threatening. The time available is often far less.
  • Only 8% of those surveyed said exiting would be their first thought when the smoke alarms sounded!

Why Steel Buildings are Safer Buildings

Once started, a building fire can spread with shocking speed, swiftly cutting off avenues of escape.

Fire Countdown InfographicStatistically, the third most likely place for a house fire to start is in the framing. Wood framing provides the perfect fuel for fire ignition. Wood burns easily, feeding and spreading the fire after it starts.

Steel does not ignite. Fire-resistant steel does not contribute fuel to spread a fire. Consequently, steel building fires spread much slower, increasing the chances for escape.

All steel is both noncombustible and fire resistant. However, not all steel framing performs the same in a fire.

Light-Gauge Steel vs. Red-Iron Steel

No building material is fireproof. If a structural fire in a steel building generates sufficient heat, the strength of the steel can be compromised, resulting in catastrophic failure of the building.

Light-gauge steel framing is especially susceptible to failure in the heat of a fire. In fact, “Fire Engineering” warns firefighters of the dangers of light gauge steel framing, calling it a “curse to the fire service.”

Rigid red-iron commercial grade steel structures, like RHINO’s pre-engineered steel buildings, retain their strength far longer in a fire than light-gauge steel or wood structures. Every fire and every structure is different, of course. However, generally heavy commercial grade steel does not structurally fail until the fire engulfs the majority of the structure. Heavy-duty structural steel does not lose its load-bearing capacity until about 2,000°F.

Every Second Counts in a Fire

The slower the spread of the fire and the longer the structure stands, the better the chance for escape.

RHINO’s rigid steel framing deters a building fire from spreading and holds its strength longer than wood or light-gauge steel framing.

The fire-resistant qualities of red-iron steel structures drastically reduce the likelihood of severe damage in a fire. That’s why most insurance carriers grant big discounts— 25% to 35%— on commercial-grade steel buildings like RHINO.

Call RHINO toll free today to learn more about steel building fire safety: 888.320.7466. Talk to our one of our experienced metal building specialists about fire-resistant steel buildings. Free quotes are available.

- by Bruce Brown,
Steel Building Systems, Inc

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