Firefighters learn more about modern house fires

February 15, 2010 3:29:25 PM PST
Chicago firefighters are getting some important training on how to quickly put out a fire while keeping themselves and others safe.Underwriters Laboratories set fire to a 3200-square foot home Monday inside their training facility in Northbrook.

It was part of a demonstration on how the properties of fire have changed because more synthetic materials are being used in home furnishings and building materials.

While many fires burn faster these days because of the synthetic materials, officials say a family's best defense to get out of a fire alive is a working smoke detector.

"Today we know when the smoke alarm sounds in a home on average the homeowner has about three to four minutes to get out safely where as 20 or 30 years ago that number was about 17 minutes so you can see that's dropped dramatically and that's all due to a lot more synthetic materials in carpeting, drapery and furniture in the modern home," said John Drengenberg, Underwriters Laboratories.

Sensors and cameras that the laboratory installed inside the burning structure will provide valuable information for firefighters to help determine how to better attack the flames.