From the early days of the Industrial Revolution and well into the twentieth century fire safety was a “work in progress”. In 1896 the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) was formed by a group of insurance firms with the goal of standardizing the then-new fire sprinkler systems.
Throughout the twentieth century and even today, the NFPA, fireman, Lawmakers and entrepreneurs continue to learn new and better fire safety practices and products. As they do, new guidelines and tools are implemented that make our lives, our homes, and buildings safer places to live and work.
Below are some of the fire safety accessories that have been invented since the late 1800s.
Fire Extinguishers: The first fire extinguisher was patented in 1723, but it wasn’t until 1818 that the predecessor of the modern fire extinguisher was invented. Since that time, the fire extinguisher has been greatly improved upon, and new and better fire extinguishing agents have been formulated.
Today’s fire extinguishers can be broken down into five main types of fire extinguishers. Each fire extinguisher type is designed to extinguish a different type of fire. See the chart below of the different types of fire extinguishers and the different classifications of fires.
Elide Fire Balls: This product is a different type of the fire extinguisher. The fire balls are filled with highly effective fire extinguishing agents. When heat is applied to the ball, it explodes, sending the extinguishing agent in all directions, providing an umbrella type of cover to the flames and has proven to be an effective extinguisher. There small size and ease of placement in a fire area with reduced risk to the person are great to have in your car, home or any place where fire extinguishers are typically used.
Fire blankets: Fire blankets are made of fire retardant material that is able to smother out small fires or to wrap around a person who is fleeing a fire area. These fire blankets are housed in small portable bags or cases that provide quick and easy access to the blankets, and can be stored or carried conveniently.
Fire Escape ladder: The Fire Escape Ladder is designed for persons who are stuck on an upper floor level with no way out other than to escape out the window and to the ground below. There are two model types:
- Mounted model: This ladder is permanently fixated to the bottom inside of the window.
- Hook model: This ladder hooks over the bottom of the window frame.
To use, simply open the window, and roll the ladder out and over the edge to the ground below. Once the ladder has completely been deployed, exit out the window and climb down the ladder.
Baby Rescue Bag: This is a new invention that is designed for parents with young kids that live in multilevel apartments. Should a fire break out and block the stair exit, parents can secure their child in the bag and lower the bag out the window using its long industrial rope. The days of throwing your baby out the window and hoping the fireman or others catch your baby without any injury are over. I think every multilevel apartment complex should have these on every floor.
This is also a recommended product for homeowners with second stories where there may also be the need need to safely lower children from an upper story.
Fire Sprinkler Systems: The fire sprinkler system is made of a series of pipes filled with an extinguishing agent such as water. Strategically located throughout the rooms covered by the system are sprinkler heads. Each sprinkler head has a heat sensitive glass bulb. If a fire breaks out, the heat causes the glass bulb to break, releasing a continuous flow of sprayed water onto the fire. The fire sprinkler system was originally designed for large ships, buildings and factories. However, systems are now available for residential homes and small buildings.
Fire Hydrants: Fire Hydrants are strategically installed alongside roads in both residential subdivisions and public areas. The fire hydrant provides a continual source of water under pressure for firefighters to use when fighting larger fires that require large volumes of extinguisher.
Heat and Smoke Alarms: Fire safety smoke and heat alarms are required to be in every home and commercial building or other public places. Depending on the design, heat or smoke will cause the alarm to sound at a high pitch. It alerts nearby people, awake and asleep, that there is a fire and they need to evacuate.
Fire Extinguisher Covers: Fire extinguisher covers are designed to protect the fire extinguisher from dust, rust or any other environmental sources that could compromise the integrity of the fire extinguisher. They are also highly colorful to “stand out” for ease of recognition in case of a fire emergency.
Signs: There are several different types of signs made today that help with fire safety. These include an exit signs, stair signs, fire extinguisher location signs and others “attention” signs when appropriate. Most signs are made to glow in the dark to help individuals navigate through the darkness of a building that has lost electrical power or is inundated with smoke.
Firefighting products, accessories and strategies have come a long way from the 1800s. With each passing year, more and more fire safety products and accessories are created or redesigned. These additions and improvements will help reduce the risk of a fire occurring, or provide us with enhanced measures to escape or combat a fire that does occur.