Fire Prevention Week: Every second counts

LFD demonstrates how easily fire spreads with new building materials and open floor plans on July 13, 2017 (Photo: LFD).

HAMPTON, Va. (WSET) -- For Fire Prevention Week, firefighters across Hampton Roads are trying to remind folks of simple safety ideas because every second counts when it comes to fire spreading.

In Virginia Beach, fire crews set a home on fire to show how quickly it would spread.

Virginia Beach Battalion Chief Michael Brashear said fires are burning much hotter and faster than they did decades ago due to the furnishings inside that are now made of synthetics and plastics.

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Brashear also stressed the importance of keeping doors shut.

"If doors are closed, that slows the spread of heat and fire and smoke within the structure," he said. "You want to feel that door first with the back of your hand, and if you feel heat, you don't want to open it. That's when you want to use your second way to get out, which is typically gonna be a window."

According to the National Fire Protection Association, seven people a day died from house fires between 2011 to 2015.

Fire departments across the United States say you need to plan two different ways to get out of each room and a path from each exit in your home.

"You never know where fire might occur. Fire could occur upstairs, in your bedroom, in your hallway and that egress is blocked, so now the only way out is the window," said Maurice Wilson, Hampton Assistant Fire Chief to WVEC in Virginia Beach.

Families can map out their escape plans and practice it.

And with cooking fires on the rise, fire officials say to be mindful of your kitchen habits; remember to put a lid on the pan if a cooking fire breaks out and if you have to leave your home, stay out.

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