Horry County Fire Rescue: You have a shorter time to get out of your house if it’s burning today than decades ago

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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – With many new developments going up quickly, the way these newer homes are built with synthetic materials and lightweight lumber is dangerous when there’s a fire.

Modern designed homes can give you less time to get out if there’s a fire inside.

Horry County Fire Rescue and EMS Assistant Chief Douglas Cline says there is truth to the statement. Research does show that the time to get out of your house if it is burning has shortened over time.

“With building construction today, the amount of time that we do have to get out of the house has decreased,” he said.

HCFR knows just as good as anyone that time is of the essence when you’re dealing with fire.

Assistant Chief Cline says we build homes today with engineered construction, and that’s different from vintage-built homes, it’s more lightweight, with a quicker burn time.

He says adding more developments doesn’t help, and could aid in how or if a fire spreads.

“Building of residential structures that are close together, the potential for fire to spread to another structure because of the distance is a phenomenon of fire behavior, yes, that is a possibility,” said Cline.

Higher levels of energy in modern homes can also cause things to burn more quickly in a fire, as in a Underwriters Laboratory video that shows a modern home burning in under four minutes, but the vintage home in thirty.

Assistant Chief Cline says this doesn’t mean newly built developments don’t meet fire codes.

“It still meets all the fire codes. It still meets all the building codes, and that’s associated to what the engineering or building codes department will do in any organization or any jurisdiction,” he said.

To keep you and your family safe, change your smoke detector batteries every time the time changes, says Cline.

Plus, synthetic furniture is another thing that could make your home burn quicker, but Cline says there’s a solution.

“One of the things that you can look for is to see if it’s been UL tested,” he said. “That is one of those seals of approval that they’ve put them through tests, and there’s certain criteria that it takes to get a UL seal, and that’s a lot of times associated more to appliances than to just furniture.”

Cline wants you to know it’s important to close before you doze. This means closing your doors at night before going to sleep, so there is less of a chance of any fire seeping through your doors at night while you are asleep.

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