Playing with Fire: The Consequences of Inadequate Fire Safety
Property and business owners are required to proactively ensure that comprehensive fire safety standards are imposed to protect customers and tenants, but far too often this does not happen. According to the National Fire Protection Association, United States fire departments responded to an estimated 1,318,500 fires in 2018 - these fires resulted in 3,655 civilian fatalities and 15,200 civilian injuries.
Inadequate Fire Safety accidents can occur when companies or landlords:
Fail to Meet Fire Codes or Regulations
Fail to Install or Maintain Fire Alarms or Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Fail to Provide or Maintain Fire Extinguishers
Fail to Install or Maintain Sprinkler Systems
Keep or Permit Materials or Electrical Hazards That Cause a Fire or Explosion
Locked/Inaccessible or Inadequate Fire Exits and Fire Escape
Permit Products That Cause Fires – e.g., Heating and Cooking Systems
Types of Fire-Related Injuries
Fire-related injuries, including burns and respiratory damage, are some of the most devastating a person can suffer from.
There are four degrees of burn injuries, signifying the depth to which tissue is damaged:
First degree burns - This injury is comparable to sunburn. The victim can expect minor pain and redness (erythema) on the epidermis, the top layer of skin. Generally, the burn will heal over a few days.
Second degree burns - The damage extends to the lower layers of the skin. Blisters form, and the site is moist and extremely painful to the touch. Bacterial infection and cellulitis are risks with this category of burns. Healing may require several weeks to a month.
Third degree burns - The skin is charred at all layers and appears dry and leathery. The site is usually painless because of nerve damage. Natural healing is impossible; the skin must be surgically excised and skin grafts used. The chance of infection is very high.
Fourth degree burns - The skin is incinerated at all layers; muscle tissue and bone are charred. Severe nerve damage renders the injury site painless. This is a life-threatening injury that may require amputation or extensive plastic surgery. The risk of infection and gangrene is very high.
The combination of suffocation and smoke inhalation during a residential fire can be devastating. There are three different components of these injuries:
Oxygen-depleted air - A burning fire consumes oxygen from the air. The remaining mix of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide cannot keep a person alive.
Inhaled hot gases - Inhaling heated combustion products can scorch and scar nasal passages and lung tissue. This can lead to permanent and disabling lung problems.
Smoke - Smoke consists of carbon particles, ash, volatile organic compounds, and a variety of toxic gases including hydrogen sulfide. These can damage the respiratory system permanently, congest or obstruct breathing, and cause seizures and coma.
The Oakes Firm is dedicated to helping injured people and grieving families obtain answers, justice, and full compensation. If you or a loved one have been injured because of Inadequate Fire Safety, don’t hesitate to contact us now. We are available 24/7 for a free case consultation to evaluate your potential claims. Learn how an award-winning Philadelphia personal injury lawyer at The Oakes Firm can get you the help you need and the money you deserve.