The leading cause of death in a fire is asphyxiation. Fire consumes the oxygen in the air, while increasing the concentration of deadly carbon monoxide and other toxic gases in the atmosphere. Inhaling carbon monoxide can cause loss of consciousness or death within minutes.
The heat from a hostile fire exceeds anything to which a person is normally exposed. A fully developed room fire has temperatures over 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fire generates a black, impenetrable smoke that blocks vision and stings the eyes. It is impossible to navigate through such smoke, so fire drill participants should practice evacuating buildings by at least two routes.
Common fire and safety hazards:
fire extinguishers failing to be maintained and inspected;
improper storage of combustibles and hazardous materials (for example, placing them near a heat source or ceiling);
extension cords placed in the path of travel;
blocked aisles and blocked and/or locked exit doors;
exit signs/emergency lights that are inoperative due to burned out bulbs or dead batteries;
housekeeping and regular trash removal;
defective fixtures or broken or missing outlets or switch plate covers;
blocked circuit breaker panels, which require 30" minimum clearance;
extinguishing/sprinkler systems failing to be routinely serviced or tested.