10 fire & smoke facts, asphyxiation

10 Important Facts About Fires & Smoke & Effects Of Asphyxiation

Have you ever given a thought to fire safety? Many of us do not know that fires & smoke can be extremely dangerous and a fire accident can happen anywhere, anytime and, to anyone.

So, it is essential for you to know about fires to protect yourself from an accident or prevent it in the first place.

Quick fire data in India

According to FICCI’s Pinkerton India Risk Survey 2017, fire is the 5th major risk for India. In India, every year thousands die in fire accidents.

Every day we lose 48 lives in fire accidents and about 1.13 lacs have died between 2011-2015 in various fire accidents in India.

Residential fires amount to 20% of all the fire accidents

Industrial fires are commonly caused by electrical short-circuits and violations of fire safety laws.

10 Important facts about fires and smoke:

  1. Fires can go out of control in minutes – A small cooking fire or an electrical short-circuit can become an uncontrollable one if it comes in contact with combustible materials. So, with heat, fuel, and oxygen, a fire will double in size every minute.
  2. Fire produces heat and poisonous gases. These gases replace oxygen and could cause suffocation.
  3. Before you see the fire in your building, the rooms could get engulfed in smoke. Smoke spreads faster than fire. The smoke is toxic and hot.
  4. In fire accidents, many get killed due to smoke inhalation before the fire could even reach them.
  5. As the smoke is thick and dark. It can be pitch dark and makes it difficult for you to see anything. It blocks the light and due to this you may get disoriented.
  6. As the heat rises in a fire, the smoke also rises. The smoke gets collected near the ceiling.
  7. The heat from the fire is as deadly as the fire. It can get as hot as 315-degree C at eye level. It is hot enough to scorch your lungs and can melt the clothes you are wearing into your skin.
  8. In India, cooking fires are the most common causes of residential fire followed by electrical short-circuit.
  9. Most of the cooking fires are caused by unattended cooking and LPG gas bursts.
  10. House fires are also caused by children playing with matchsticks and careless smoking.

Effects of Asphyxiation:

What is asphyxiation?

As you may know, asphyxiation is a state/process of being deprived of oxygen. (source: Wikipedia)

During fire accidents, a room could be filled up with poisonous gases and these gases like replace the oxygen in the room. The common asphyxiant gases are nitrogen, argon, helium, butane, and propane.

Butane and propane are the components of LPG.

Due to this, many of the fire victims succumb to smoke before getting burned.

According to NFPA,

When oxygen levels are at A person experiences
21 percent Normal outside air
17 percent Impaired judgment and co-ordination
12 percent Headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue
9 percent Unconsciousness
6 percent Respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest, death


Hence, it is always better to prevent fires. Installing a smoke alarm could save you from asphyxiation.

The infographic helps you to understand the uses of smoke detectors. Though smoke detectors are not popular in India, consider installing it in your home if you care about the safety of your family.

What should you do in case you are stuck in smoke?

  1. Cover your nose and mouth with a wet cloth
  2. Close the door and seal all cracks with wet towels or sheets. This would prevent smoke from coming in
  3. Get low, and crawl outside the building with your hands and knees. As the smoke rises, the air at your knee level is cleaner and helps you breathe.

If you are caught in a fire, Get out and stay out of the building.


To know what you should do in case of a fire refer to the fire safety tips

Home fire safety checklistDownload the home fire safety checklist



NCRB Data 2011-2015



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