Modern furniture can burn up to 8 times faster versus older couches and chairs, according to Olmsted Township Fire Department

Updated: Sep. 27, 2019 at 4:17 PM EDT
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OLMSTED TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WOIO) - Fire officials say the furniture in your home is more flammable than in decades past, and that could present a fire hazard.

That’s why they say it is so important to have a fire safety plan and know exactly how to handle it if you ever have to escape from a fire in your own home.

“They call it modern versus legacy furniture,” said Olmsted Township Fire Chief Patrick Kelly. "The legacy furniture is like our parents’ furniture, what they had. It is more like cotton, fiber, real slow burning versus today’s furniture, a lot of synthetics, a lot of plastics, a lot of electronics that burn so much faster, probably eight times faster.“

A video produced by Underwriters Laboratories shows that in a side-by-side comparison. One room is filled with older furniture, mostly made of wood and cotton, while the modern furniture room includes recently made sofas, tables, and curtains. The legacy room takes nearly 30 minutes to be fully engulfed in flames. The modern room is engulfed in about 3 minutes and 30 seconds.

Chief Kelly says there are some steps you can take to protect yourself in a modern home.

“Keep your door closed," he said. "Studies have shown, with your door closed, at night time, if there is a fire somewhere else in your house, that could create a barrier to allow you enough time to escape and get out of the fire.“

Most importantly, he says, get a smoke alarm. If you live in Olmsted Township, the fire department will install yours for free.

"Make sure you have smoke alarms on each level, each floor. If you can, have them inside your bedroom, too.”

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