Troika Drafts is a 100 acre working farm nestled in the foothills of Western Maine. We enjoy all breeds, but specialize in Shires for work, sport, and show. We are also involved with local, regional, and national fire service issues, so if you see a blog concerning those, its just part of our life here on the farm. Visitors are always welcome, and in the meantime visit us online at http://www.troikadrafts.com or on FaceBook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Troika-Drafts/274371139201
Fire prevention week has come and
gone. We've changed our clocks back for daylight savings time, and we
all completed our fire safe duty and changed the batteries in our
smoke detectors. Before long we'll be baking holiday goodies, burning
yuletide candles, and decorating with mistletoe and fir boughs. Every
night we'll snuggle in with little concern of how or if our home may
As a mother it may be hard to realize
that your home, especially if it was built within the last decade and
is filled with modern furnishing, is built to burn. Your home is not
only built to burn, it is built to burn extremely fast, and extremely
hot, and in a ferocious manner that within minutes can consume
everything within it; you, your family, your belongings.
Another fact to realize, is that no
matter how hard we try, firefighters can not keep you safe;
especially from a fire in a home built with modern materials. Safe is
the total elimination of risk. Firefighters and other first
responders can only work to keep you safer. We need your help,
especially in rural areas or areas where fire response services have
been eliminated or sharply curtailed. I ask that you take a few
minutes to read what follows, take the information seriously, help
spread the word, and please follow the recommendations to help keep
your home and neighborhood as fire safe as possible.
As a volunteer firefighter in a small
town in Western Maine, and a Fire Services Instructor for the Maine
Community College System, one of my favorite classes to teach is fire
behavior, and particularly fire behavior in modern construction.
Modern building materials and construction methods have removed the
heavier wood and other sturdier mechanisms that comprised homes built
decades ago. In addition, modern insulation and furnishings, made
primarily from plastic and petroleum based materials, burn with a
significantly higher heat release rate. When these two facts of the
modern home meet fire, the result is an immediate and violent growth
of fire. This type of fire results in a consuming and complete loss
of the home and everything within it.
In many ways, the threat of fire and
its consuming consequences for modern homes has been a tough one for
the fire service to deal with. It has only been in the last few years
that research, sponsored in part by funding from the Assistance to
Firefighters Grant Program, has scientifically and visually proven
what firefighters have suspected for years: fires in homes built with
modern lightweight construction and filled with modern furnishing
made of plastics and foams, burn with a significantly higher heat
release rate than homes built and furnished with legacy materials
such as heavier wood, ceramics, glass, wools, and cottons.
Research that shows firefighters the
extreme rate at which fire burns in modern homes is often termed
“bringing science to the streets”. The fire service is taking
this research to our firefighters through conferences, workshops, and
trainings. We are learning to adjust our tactics and strategies to
fight fire in modern homes with greater safety and efficiency. Our
goal is not only to keep ourselves and our fellow firefighters safer
but to help keep our towns and families more safe as well. This is
the reason for the message to moms. We need your help from inside the
home. As a mother and homeowner there are several actions you can
take to make your home and family more safe from fire related death
Choose products and home furnishings
that are made with natural fibers such as wool, linen, or cotton.
Consider heavier wood furnishings and non-combustible materials over
plastic or polyester whenever possible.
Design and establish a fire safe plan
for your home. Along with sprinklers, install smoke alarms and CO detectors. Design fire drills with your family and practice them
three to four times a year to fully establish them as emergency exit
Close the bedroom and other doors in
your home. Research has shown highly improved survivability rates for
occupants in rooms when doors are closed. Firefighters also use a
tactic known as Vent Enter Search (VES) that compliments search and
rescue efforts when bedroom doors are closed.
Support building codes that encourage
sprinklers and fire safe homes. Educated yourself on such things as
passive and active fire protection systems.
Support local leaders and political
activities that support and endorse sprinklers, fire safe homes, and
fire wise neighborhoods.
When shopping for a home, ask your
realtor for listings that have sprinklers. Fire sprinklers are the
next best thing to having on-duty firefighter at your home at all
times. In addition, shop and dine at small businesses that have
Residential home fires are the leading
cause of fire related death and injury in the United States. An
estimated 374,900 residential building fires are reported to U.S.
fire departments each year. These fires cause approximately 2,630
deaths, along with 13,075 injuries and 7.6 billion in property loss.
Firefighters fully agree and support the position of the United State
Fire Administration in that the most effective fire prevention and
reduction activity a homeowner can take is the installation and
maintenance of fire sprinklers. Fire sprinklers offer the highest
level of fire safety because they control the fire immediately and
help prevent deadly flashover. Home sprinklers react automatically to
a fire and often extinguish the fire before the fire department
For more information and to help others understand the danger of
fires in homes constructed with modern materials and furnishing
please take time to watch the following video from Underwriter
. This video shows
what happens to a modern room and a “legacy” room, when a lit
candle is placed on each sofa. The fire in the legacy room takes 29
minutes, 25 seconds to reach flashover; the fire in the modern room
takes just 3 minutes and 40 seconds. This is the message firefighters
are adapting their tactics and strategies when it comes to fighting
fire in modern construction.