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The Dangers of Smoke Inhalation

Most fire-related deaths are not actually caused by burns, but by smoke inhalation. Smoke can incapacitate a person quickly, slowing them down or making them unable escape safely.

Synthetic materials found in today’s homes produce especially dangerous substances. As a fire grows inside a building, it will often consume most of the available oxygen, slowing the burning process. This “incomplete combustion” results in toxic gases.

Smoke is made up of various components that may be individually lethal and dangerous.

The most common, is
carbon monoxide which can be deadly even in small quantities as it replaces oxygen in the bloodstream. Hydrogen cyanide results when plastics burn and this can interfere with cellular respiration. Phosgene is formed when household products such as vinyl materials burn. At low levels, phosgene can cause itchy eyes and a sore throat; at higher levels it can cause pulmonary edema and death.

In addition to producing smoke, fire can also incapacitate or kill by
reducing oxygen levels. Smoke can either consume the oxygen around it or it can displace it with other gases.

Heat is also a respiratory hazard because superheated gases will burn the respiratory tract. When the air is hot enough, even one breath of it can kill.

To learn more about the dangers of smoke inhalation and to help protect your home from a fire, contact Hero Fire Protection to schedule a free fire safety assessment. We are a full-service fire protection company in Hawaii dedicated in educating families about the devastating effects of home fires and other home safety issues.

Contact us today to get a FREE fire safety assessment and receive a FREE emergency kit.
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