Saving Lives in Home Fires With Smoke, Heat, and Fresh Air Vents
What kills people, who die in home fires? Poisonous gases in the smoke. What do firefighters do when they arrive at a burning home? Ventilate the house letting smoke and heat out and fresh air in. The firefighters often chop holes in the roof and break windows to ventilate the structure. We have mandatory fire and smoke detectors in our homes. Why not automatically opening smoke and heat vents? Vents could be added for less than the price a window or about the same cost of a skylight. Combined with modern fire retardant upholstery, fiberglass draperies, fire retardant carpeting, and bedding made of wool, or treated fabrics that retard flame. These are used by many people already. The smoke from a smoldering fire in a sofa would not be as likely, to cause the death of the sleeping occupants. If fresh air was supplied to them via automatically opening vents, in the roof or near the ceiling, to let smoke and heat out, and vents near the floor, to let fresh air in.
Sales could be handled by independent sales organizations, solar energy companies, fire alarm dealers, and installed by licensed general or specialty contractors in existing buildings and new construction. The family whose lives are saved could your neighbors or yours.
If mounted in the roof, a “Sky-light” could cover the fireproof vent duct and provide light to the room below or suitable plain panel, or roofing material covered panel could be used, to blend in with the appearance. In a multi story building, vents could be in the side of the building near the interior ceiling and floor to accomplish the same objectives. Exterior finish can match or contrast with the building’s appearance. Dimensions are envisioned at 12 inches wide to fit between structural members in typical construction and 12 to 24 inches tall. But, the dimensions are not critical. For large rooms multiple sets of vents might be more effective, and for small rooms at least one set of ceiling and floor level vents may be sufficient. This is still to be determined.
The vents could have screening, for whole house ventilation, in good weather. The screens to open also for fire, to attain maximum air flow. The savings, in air conditioning, could partly offset the cost of vents.
The important consideration is that the smoke and heat are vented and fresh air is admitted to improve the chance of survival of the building occupants. In the event of a fire in their home, the family whose lives are saved could be your neighbor’s or your own!