Fire Facts

Fire Prevention & Safety


Everyday, somewhere in our country, somebody's home catches fire. Fires in American homes claim more than 4000 lives every year. It could happen in YOUR home, to YOU and YOUR family.

A serious home fire is a deadly combination of heat, blinding smoke, and toxic gases. Gases produced by fire can kill sleeping victims long before flames reach them. Fire can produce temperatures over 1000oF (537oC) in just minutes! And as temperatures rise, flashover can ignite an entire room virtually instantaneously.

You should try to eliminate fire hazards from your home. The best time to stop a fire, after all, is before it starts. By following our Fire Safety Links, you will find information that will help you in eliminating hazards, and improving your chances in the event a fire does occur in your home.

We at the Village of Mamaroneck Fire Department have compiled the following information in hopes that we do not have to answer a call for a fire at YOUR home. Even though we have provided a lot of information here, there is no definitive answer. We encourage you to follow these suggestions. Fire safety is nothing to joke about. If there is something here that you do not understand, want further information about, or if your feel that you need assistance in determining whether your home is "fire safe" we URGE you to contact us at 914-381-3178. We're open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

The information contained within was obtained from the Village of Mamaroneck Fire Department, the Westchester County Department of Emergency Services, the NFPA, FEMA and the U.S. Fire Administration, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, and the National Safe Kids Campaign (a program of Children's National Medical Center).

How Fires Start

Fire is a chemical reaction involving rapid oxidation or burning of a fuel. It needs three elements to occur:

  • FUEL - Fuel can be any combustible material - solid, liquid or gas. Most solids and liquids become a vapor or gas before they will burn.
  • OXYGEN - The air we breathe is about 21% oxygen. Fire only needs an atmosphere with at least 16% oxygen.
  • HEAT - Heat is the energy necessary to increase the temperature of the fuel to a point where sufficient vapors are given off for ignition to occur.
  • CHEMICAL REACTION - A chain reaction can occur when the three elements of fire are present in the proper conditions and proportions. Fire occurs when this rapid oxidation, or burning takes place. Take any one of these factors away, and the fire cannot occur or will be extinguished if it was already burning.


  • Fire is dark. Most people expect fire to be light. On the contrary, fire is pitch black. In most cases smoke kills first, not flames. The poisonous gases emitted by a fire actually put you into a deep sleep before you are overcome by flames. Installing a smoke detector on each level of your home can give you the early warning you need to escape safely!
  • Fire has intense heat. Fire raises the temperature several hundred degrees in just seconds. One breath can cause severe lung damage. Develop and practice a fire escape plan - complete with a meeting place outside. An escape plan can help you escape safely - when seconds count!
  • Fire is fast! In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It takes only minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house.
  • Fire is hot! A fire's heat alone can kill. Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super hot air will scorch your lungs.
  • Fire is dark! Fire starts bright, but quickly produces smoke and complete darkness. If you wake up to a fire, you may be blinded, disoriented, and unable to find your way around the home you've lived in for years.
  • Fire is deadly! Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. Fire uses up the oxygen you need and produces smoke and poisonous gases that kill.

A residential home can be totally consumed in flames in less than five minutes! There is no time - you need to know what to do.