how many seconds

How many seconds?

In the blink of an eye, disaster can strike, especially when it comes to house fires. Understanding the speed at which fires can spread is crucial for taking preventative measures and ensuring the safety of your loved ones. We’ll delve into the alarming pace at which a fire can escalate within different parts of a house and explore the crucial question of how many seconds it takes to extinguish a small fire with the right tools.

This displays the typical timeline of a 2 story house being engulfed in flames:

30 Seconds

After only 30 seconds, the fire starts and rapidly grows.

1 Minute

After 1 minute, the fire spreads from the initial flame, and the room begins to fill with smoke.

1 Minute 35 Seconds

At 1 minute 35 seconds, the temperature of the house goes higher than 88°C while the smoke layer rapidly descends.

1 Minute 50 Seconds

At 1 minute and 50 seconds, the smoke detector goes off. At this point, there is still time remaining to get out of the house.

2 Minutes 30 Seconds

At 2 minutes and 30 seconds, the temperature in the source room climbs above 204°C.

2 Minutes 48 Seconds

After 2 minutes and 48 seconds, the smoke will start pouring into the other rooms of the house.

3 Minutes

At 3 minutes, the temperature in the room where the fire began will reach over 260°C. No human can survive that kind of heat.

3 Minutes 20 Seconds

At 3 minutes and 20 seconds, escaping will be very challenging, with the upstairs halls filled with smoke.  

3 Minutes 41 Seconds

At 3 minutes and 41 seconds, a “flashover” occurs. Everything in the room where the fire originated will ignite, with the temperature exceeding 760°C.

4 Minutes 33 Seconds

At 4 minutes and 33 seconds, flames will have engulfed the home’s exterior. Rescue is no longer possible.

Less than 1 Minute

It takes less than a minute to extinguish a fire using the correct fire extinguisher when the fire is detected in the first 1 minute and 30 seconds of the fire initially starting. When a fire is detected and is still small enough to fight, this time is crucial. Fast and proper action is essential for the safety of yourself, your property and your loved ones. If the fire is too large, escape and you and your loved ones’ safety is key.


Every second counts when it comes to house fires. Understanding how many seconds it can take a fire to spread empowers homeowners to take proactive measures to prevent it. Equally important is knowing how to respond swiftly with the right tools, such as a fire extinguisher, to nip potential disasters in the bud. Being a few seconds faster in the battle against house fires can make all the difference between a close call and a devastating tragedy.

the domino effect

The Domino Effect: How Quickly Fires Spread in Homes

In the blink of an eye, a spark can transform into a raging inferno, consuming a home in its destructive path. The speed at which fires spread through houses is nothing short of alarming, underscoring the critical importance of swift action in preventing irreparable damage and protecting lives. In this blog post, we’ll explore the domino effect of fire and why every second counts in the race against this formidable force of nature.

The Ignition Point

Fires typically start from a seemingly innocuous source – an unattended candle, a faulty electrical outlet, or a kitchen mishap. The ignition point, though small and inconspicuous, marks the beginning of a potential catastrophe. Once a fire gains a foothold, it can escalate rapidly, fueled by combustible materials commonly found in homes.

Fueling the Flames

The contents of our homes provide ample fuel for fires to thrive. From wooden furniture to curtains, carpets, and even everyday household items, many materials can contribute to the spread of flames. The modern home is filled with synthetic materials that burn quickly and emit toxic fumes, making the situation even more perilous.

The Domino Effect

As the fire devours one item after another, it creates a domino effect, intensifying its reach and impact. The heat generated by the flames can cause adjacent materials to catch fire, and soon entire rooms become engulfed in an unstoppable blaze. The rapid acceleration of the fire is astonishing, leaving little time for occupants to react.

The Importance of Fast Action

1. Life-Saving Measures: The primary concern during a house fire is the safety of the occupants. Swift action allows for a timely evacuation, minimising the risk of injury or loss of life. Fire spreads exponentially, and delays in response can prove fatal.

2. Property Preservation: Beyond lives, fast action is crucial for minimising property damage. Firefighters are skilled professionals, but even their prompt response may not be enough to save a home if the fire has already gained significant momentum.

3. Containment Possibility: Quick action may enable residents to contain or extinguish the fire at its inception. Having readily accessible fire extinguishers and knowing how to use them can make a significant difference in preventing a small incident from escalating.

4. Emergency Services Response: Timely calls to emergency services can expedite the arrival of firefighters, enhancing their ability to control and extinguish the fire before it spreads extensively.


The harrowing speed at which fires spread through houses is a stark reminder of the need for preparedness and quick action. Every second counts in the race against a fire, and the consequences of hesitation can be devastating. By understanding the domino effect of fire and prioritising swift responses, we can better protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our homes from the destructive forces that threaten us.

Christmas Fire Safety Tips

Approaching coming up to Christmas time, fires are roaring and lights are shining. With all the festivities comes extra fire danger and risks. Here are some top tips for fire safety at Christmas time.

Watering all real Christmas trees

This one is often used as a method for keeping your tree healthy and full throughout December. It is also one of the best tips for fire safety at Christmas time. This little trick can help stop the huge spread of a fire and can easily save lives and homes.

Dry Christmas trees are very flammable and can turn a small flame into a full house fire in the matter of minutes. This is demonstrated very well with this great Youtube video by

Checking lights aren't damaged and confrom to British Standards

Lights on a Christmas tree and around the house in general do look good, but if they are faulty or damaged this can spark a very dangerous fire. Lights conforming to British Standards allows you to know that the products that are sprinkled around your house this December are not faulty and not likely to spark a fire.

When lights are old and used (like a lot of people’s Christmas lights are) they can be a potential risk of starting fires. If you notice any fraying or damage to your lights or ANY cables and wires in your house make sure you deal with them immediately and either replace the wiring professionally or get a new product.

Never overload sockets or outlets

During the Christmas season we tend to have more electrical items that we are not used to having to plug in the rest of the year. This can lead to people being lazy with their care for electrical safety. This can lead to overloaded sockets.

Overloaded sockets are a huge risk when it comes to starting fires. Too much electricity running through the outlet at once will cause an increase in temperature, which can lead to further problems. This can cause electrical faults leading to sparks and fires. This tip for fire safety at Christmas is essential as it is one of the more common fire starters during the festive period.

Always turn off Christmas lights before going to bed

With Christmas lights people love to leave them overnight because they ‘look good’. This is a very dangerous habit. Doing this could leave your Christmas tree and your house vulnerable. This could cause a fire due to an electrical fault at any time.

Fairy lights alone cause upward of 20 fires a year in the UK. By not leaving Christmas lights on overnight you are saving electricity, stopping the chance of a fire and reducing wear and tear on the lights in general and batteries if they are battery operated.

Be safe when heating your home

During this cost of living crisis, people will struggle to heat their homes properly, this may lead to people taking up unsafe acts in an attempt to stay warm this Christmas. Safety must always be thought about equally or first. 

When using electric heaters, they must never be left unattended as they are a very capable fire starter. In the last 5 years electrical heaters have caused upward of 800 fires across the UK. They account for a third of all electrical fire fatalities. 

Keep candles away from flammable items

Candles are a cosy addition to any Christmas setup and are a common addition round the festive period. 

This is one of the most common tips for fire safety at Christmas time. Proper and safe use of candles is very important. Never leave a candle unattended and keep away from real trees, wreaths, curtains and any flammable material. – 20 fairy light fires,  London Fire Brigade – 800 fires over the last 5 years caused by electrical fire

Fire Safety Regulations For Boats and Vessels

A brief overview on the Fire Safety regulations for boats and vessels.  The requirements of Fire Extinguishers and Fire Safety products on Boats or Vessels.

The fire safety regulations for boats and vessels must be thought about when owning a boat or vessel. When first sold or put into use, vessels built for the UK market in compliance with the UK Recreational Craft Regulations 2017. They also must be suitable for the EU market in compliance with Directive 2013/53/EU. That includes protection from risk and spread of fire and the provision of fire-fighting equipment appropriate to the fire hazard.

Both the UK and the EU recognise that conformity with the fire protection requirements can be achieved by applying ISO 9094. Small craft – Fire Protection which specifies the minimum requirements for fire fighting equipment.

However, further means of firefighting may be necessary (or required by law). This applies particularly to UK registered private pleasure vessels over 13.7m, which fall under UK Merchant Shipping Regulations.

Even if a firefighting kit is not mandatory, any vessel that is constructed of, or carries, any flammable materials should carry firefighting equipment.

When planning fire safety, consider the amount and type of combustible material on board. You should think about where extinguishers might be needed and how to stow them. 

There should also be a fitted fire alarm that should be tested regularly. 

These are the guidelines on the amount of fire extinguishers and minimum fire rating required according to size of the vessel.

Approximate length of vessel  Number of fire extinguishers (consider one for each sleeping cabin)  Combined fire rating
under 7m(23ft)                 2           10A/68B
7 – 11m(23-36ft)                 2            13A/89B 
11 – 13.7m(36-45ft)                 3        21A/144B