If you think fire is dangerous, you need to think again. Did you know that it is the smoke that is the leading cause of death during a fire, rather than the flames?
Exceeding burns by a three to one ratio, asphyxiation, the state of being deprived of oxygen, resulting in suffocation and unconsciousness, is the leading cause of fire deaths. When a property is on fire, gases are produced that can cause the people in the building to feel disoriented and drowsy. They would then have a hard time keeping themselves awake. If the exposure to smoke persists for long, the person could become unconscious.
Other than the immediate effects on residents, home fires impact the entire house, regardless of its location. According to the experts at Disaster Restore 365, a leading fire and smoke damage restoration service in Houston, smoke leads to cascading aftereffects, which linger in a house for a very long time, since smoke gets into the ducts and vents, from where the tiny smoke particles find their way into the building’s HVAC system. It becomes crucial, therefore, to seek help from professional fire damage restoration services in Houston, TX, to detect issues that are not observable by the layperson.
The Composition of Fire Smoke
The smoke released by fire consists of a mixture of gases and particles, emitted due to incomplete burning of carbon-containing materials. The smoke contains gases like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter (PM or soot), as well as chemicals like aldehydes, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, acid gases, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), toluene, styrene, benzene, metals, and dioxins.
Of all the components, carbon monoxide and the very small particles lead to maximum side effects on human health, especially among individuals with respiratory conditions like asthma and cardiovascular conditions, as well as fetuses, infants, young children and the elderly. The composition of smoke may vary depending on the material that is burning and the amount of oxygen available for burning.
How Smoke Affects People
Smoke is irritating to the eyes, nose, and throat. The odor is nauseating. When people are exposed to heavy smoke, their lung function changes temporarily, and they face difficulty in breathing. They can experience headaches, reduced alertness and an aggravated heart condition known as angina. It is advisable to avoid exposure to high levels of smoke, if possible. If it is not possible, limit your physical exertion.
Smoke Damage to Property
Smoke damage is one of the hazards of a house fire. Whether the fire incident is small or large, smoke is likely to spread throughout the structure. As an immediate impact, the structure will be stained and smothered with an unpleasant odor, as the smoke travels through wiring crevices or pipelines to the cooler areas in the property.
Once the fire is extinguished, the items that have been damaged by the fire need to be removed and replaced. Since water is used to extinguish the fire, the surrounding areas get significantly drenched. The area needs to be cleaned and dried within 48 hours before mold starts to grow.
Residents of Houston know that smoke cleanup is not a DIY project and that they need to contact an experienced smoke damage restoration service.