I'm not sure where you mean to go with this thread, but here are my thoughts.
The United States has the fourth highest fire death rate of all industrialized countries (International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics 2001). Residential fires are the most important cause of fire-related mortality.
To back up a bit, what is it that causes the fires?
For example, there are plenty of threads here that discuss the possible outcomes and actual incidents of when safety is overlooked (Heaven forbid).
Naturally, if all of the professional arsonists were out of a job, that would stop that percentage (I have no idea what that would be) of fires.
How often do we hear in the news "...the family had smoke detectors but they were not functional..."
How about the old "Smokey the Bear" campaigns that helped to make people aware of forest fires?
What about children "playing with matches" or "candles too close to the curtains."
Hotels without proper sprinkler and/or alarm systems...
The list goes on and on.
Many people are extremely uninformed and take a cavalier attitude towards fires.
I once saw a video of a house that was set afire (deliberately, with sensors in place to measure environmental factors...I wish I could recall the title of the video!) Absolutely frightful but eye-opening.
There was another video series produced by TV Channel 2 in New York, (one of those "special reports") that made some very strong points. Despite the portrayal on TV and in movies and some of the people surveyed as part of the report, a room on fire is dark, extremely hot, with burning, choking air. If one is asleep, one will NOT wake up but rather fall into a deeper sleep until they are at the point of death.
Fire prevention, strong, in-your-face messages to children, teens, parents, the elderly, everybody could indeed reduce the amount of fires.
How many families have working smoke alarms, an evacuation plan, etc? How many people are "bothered" by "nuisance" alarms caused by their oven and remove the battery, rather than purchasing a different type of alarm?
How many elderly people can't physically access the alarm to put in a new battery?
It goes on and on and on.
So, to try to answer the question, if there were no fires then that would mean that fire prevention was being taught and being practiced.
Until then, may we all be blessed to see the day when those people who would have been "out of work" are instead working to continue fire prevention!
Then maybe we could get some folks to start working on drivers...but that would be a whole other thread!
(You stay in your lane, so I can stay in my lane, thankyouverymuch....)
Re: What if There Were No More Fires!!#104034 12/23/0209:43 AM12/23/0209:43 AM
Just a question: Do you have any idea where Austria was in this rating? AFAIK we have a rather low fire death rate, and NOBODY here has smokes in his homes. They're mandatory in hotels, public buildings, etc. However they're conbsidered absolutely unnecessary in residential. This got me wondering whether there's too much fuss made about smokes in the US.
Re: What if There Were No More Fires!!#104035 12/23/0211:10 AM12/23/0211:10 AM
Joe, I don't think that there is any reliable data on that subject available. The actual cause of a fire, especially residential, is not normally investigated by anyone that is trained enough to correctly identify the exact cause of the fire. Sure, in many cases, the physical point of origin can be established, but often the exact cause cannot. In your question about extension cords, the cause might be listed as electrical, but was it the cord, the receptacle, the fixed wiring, or the appliance, or did someone drop a cigarette next to the receptacle? Don
Re: What if There Were No More Fires!!#104037 12/23/0212:24 PM12/23/0212:24 PM
What if there were no more fires? That would mean we firefighters could stop putting ourselves in danger trying to rescue people. Most firefighters I know would love to see that! As a firefighter and electrician I have seen true electrical fires and some listed as electrical that were not. I wish the zip cord type extension cords were outlawed. People use them wrong almost every time. In my area I would like to see electrical code enforcement, which we don't have. Any one can be an "Electrican". All you need is a pickup truck and a ladder. I think it would be great to see the material that makes up an outlet made of a material that changes to a bright color to alert someone of an overheating problem before it turns into a fire. I know some people would just ignore it but it might save a few houses and lives.
Re: What if There Were No More Fires!!#104038 12/23/0203:23 PM12/23/0203:23 PM
I know of one convienence store that has used a 25 ft. extension cord to power an ice machine for at least 2 years with no problems. Things like this are also where Harry the Homeowner looks at it and says,if he can do it I can!If the cord doesn't get cut,frayed or stepped on itcould last forever.I would agree that the intent of the code is to prevent their use indefinitly, but how would you police this in private residences or home workshops or home offices?Granted,public buildings could be held accountable. But I don't think,try as we might, that this will ever go away. 2 things that I believe cannot be legislated, morality and common sense.
Re: What if There Were No More Fires!!#104039 12/23/0204:16 PM12/23/0204:16 PM
Last Friday (20th December) after work I walked by a beauty parlor that had an extension cord plugged into an outlet near the front door powering a nail dryer on the other end of the room snaking UNDER a piece of rug used as a floor mat.
Here's the potential scenario:
Rub rub, scrape scrape. Bring in any left-over road salt, dirt and moisture and add to the abrasive and corrosive morass on that carpet.
Rub some more.
Eventually the rubber insulation gets eaten away. The bare wires touch each other. A short circuit happens and there is a spark (of course the fuse has probably been replaced by a slug). The rug on top catches fire and spreads to the rug on the bottom.
It's a turn-of-the century building (a little architectural treasure in my opinion)in New York's Financial District which is a densley populated area. But it's got wooden floors (and wood in the walls) and the upper floors have been sealed for decades, so it's not in the best of shape.
The building catches on fire and it spreads to the next 100-year old half-abandoned tinderbox which also catches on fire (it houses a pizzeria and an Indian restaurant with gas-fired ovens on the ground floor) and then the NEXT one undergoing restoration(flammable chemicals like paint inside).
Pretty soon the whole block is in flames!!!
All because of a stupid little wire running underneath a rug.
This hasn't happened (yet). But it could, so you get the picture.
Please PLEASE do not run your electrical cords underneath a carpet!
Do not splice damaged extension cords or cordsets together and do not overload your sockets!!
This was all stuff we were warned about in THIRD GRADE science class. Go figure...
On the positive side it was a 3-pin air-conditioner extension cord (SPT-3/14AWG).
-- Sven "(We could not determine the cause of the fire. The building was not wired for electricity)"
[This message has been edited by SvenNYC (edited 12-23-2002).]
Re: What if There Were No More Fires!!#104040 12/23/0205:04 PM12/23/0205:04 PM
Sven, years ago I started a preventive maintenance program for our plant. The hard part in proving that it was working is that it is hard to show what you prevented. Case in point you can tell the store owner about the extension cord and they will roll their eyes and say that you are crazy. Or if you put in a new plug and charge them $200 they will think it is a waste of money.
Those who do not learn from the past are destined to relive it. Scott
Re: What if There Were No More Fires!!#104041 12/23/0206:27 PM12/23/0206:27 PM
I agree with sparky that proper installations done by qualified people and inspected by qualified people would go along way toward preventing fires and accidents. Is there any way to educate the general public as to the hazards of improper electrical work? Maybe if some of the poco's spent as much time and effort on this as they do selling water heaters and energy packages?