Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears visits the Los Angeles County Fire Department to see how quickly one room in a house can go up in flames. Upholstered furniture, curtains, cushions, carpet and beds can all contain highly flammable materials. California is the only state that has a law to regulate the flammability of household materials. Learn more by reading Technical Bulletin 117, or TB 117. If flames set your clothes on fire, remember to stop, drop and roll.
Smoke inhalation is the number one cause of death from a fire. During a fire, smoke fills the air and takes the space that is normally filled with oxygen. The smoke is a mixture of gases and heated particles that enter the body through the lungs and disrupt the respiratory tract.
As a fire grows, levels of carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas, increase. On a cellular level, carbon monoxide binds to the hemoglobin in blood cells 200 times faster than oxygen, quickly displacing vital oxygen that the body needs to survive.