Paint Claims To Make Your Home Fire Resistant
Created: 5/21/2007 3:23:18 PM
Last updated: 5/22/2007 3:20:12 PM
(KSDK) - In 2006, more then 80 people lost their lives in residential house fires in Missouri, an increase of nearly 20% from the year before. It's an increase that's alarming firefighting officials, who say they're looking for reasons why, and for new ways we can make our homes safer. One new way may be the paint we use.
Along with members of the St. Charles City Fire Department, we put one such paint and its claims to the test.
If a fire were to break out in your home, could you get your family out in time? Seconds and minutes can determine who lives and who perishes in a house fire.
Steve Beck is the president of International Fire Resistant Systems, a company located in San Rafael, California. Their product, "Firefree 88," is a commercial and residential paint that claims it can provide you with extra minutes needed to ensure escape from a burning home.
"Firefree is a fire resistant coating, as opposed to most of the other products on the market which are fire retardant. The difference being a fire resistant product not only stops flame spread, but it also stops fire penetration," said Beck.
And that could mean more lives saved, because right now, at least in Missouri, firefighters are seeing the opposite.
"What were seeing is an increase in fire fatalities in residences, and that's unusual. We don't normally see as many as we have been here in Missouri," said Captain Daniel Casey, Public Information Officer for the St. Charles City Fire Department.
But can a can of paint really make a difference?
"Anything that's going to give you a little bit more time to get out is something that we need to look into, if it does work," said Casey.
And there is only one way to find out if the paint does what it says, and that is to burn it up.
Following proper application directions, we painted cut sections of 30 minute, half inch drywall with FF-88 and another with common house paint. Both cured for 30 days. We then set them up at a St. Charles fire station.
"We're going to see how long it takes to actually get into that paper of the dry wall and start getting into the drywall where it starts compromising that wall," said Casey, whose team of fire professionals helped conduct the test.
Using identical fire sources, we begin our test on the hut with common interior house paint.
Immediately after igniting the source, a smoke detector that Casey installed on the roof of the hut began beeping. Around 3 minutes later, the heat of the fire melted the detector. "That shows how long you can actually have to get out, just with the detector doing its job," said Casey.
Around 4 minutes into the burn, a bluish smoke begins to bellow. "That bluer smoke is telling me it's probably starting to get into the paper in ceiling of that drywall," said Casey.
Through door we cut in the front panel, visible signs of the drywall paper burning are clear. Casey predicts a flash over is nearing.
At 5:19, the ceiling collapses, and Captain Casey declares the structure's been compromised.
Now to the FF-88 treated hut.
At the 5:19 mark, the FF 88 hut isn't showing any sings the drywall's been compromised. "Right now I feel comfortable, that if there was a door on that box, we'd close that door and we've got the fire in check," said Casey.
Just seconds from the 8 minute mark, the ceiling collapses, and Casey ends the burn. The FF 88 treated hut remained intact nearly 3 minutes longer then the untreated hut. For Captain Casey, that extra time could save someone's life.
"Most of our response times out here in St. Charles are less then four minutes, so from the time of this fire, obviously we saw this take 7 minutes or so, maybe longer before it actually got into the ceiling area, where we would have a compromise of the actual structure. And that's three minutes after we've been there, which is time to get everyone out," said Casey.
The protection FF 88 offers comes with a price. The paint sells for about $63 a gallon. The paint cannot be bought over the counter in St. Louis just yet, but you can purchase it directly from the company.
Click here for the company's website.
International Fire Resistant Systems, Inc.
580 Irwin Street, No. 1
San Rafael, CA 94901
toll free (888)-990-FF88
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Thread: New paint
05-23-2007, 04:15 PM #1
New paintSFPD Member MABAS Division 47
Told my wife I'm at work. Told my boss I'm sick. I'm really at the fire station.
05-23-2007, 04:30 PM #2
The problem is.. it's not just drywall that is burning. You can't paint the floor, carpeting, upholstered furniture, etc.
Fire resistant paints aren't new. The are called intumescent paints and "puff up" when high heat is applied to protect the surface."The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY
05-23-2007, 05:34 PM #3
Does this paint reduce the smoke that is put off by all the other thing we have in our houses. I think Not!!! It might help prevent extention into the structure itself but we all know it is the smoke that kills not the fire.. Will it help contain the fire, Yes if the doors are closed, and for only a little while... Might it help save lives, I doubt it. Boy nice sales pitch...... And who can afford it for every room in the house.....98% buy cheap,, If they can get the deal they will pay the deal not $63.00 a gal... Plus my house won't burn down that only happens to other people... It might be a good product but for 3 min I doubt the average person is going to pay the money...Be SAFE!!! Go home when your shift is done and enjoy life.
This is MY OPINION and ONLY MINE.
Not my Departments/IAFF/WPFF
06-22-2007, 06:55 PM #4
- Join Date
- Jun 2007
Very true, I must say it's a good protective measure to places where paint can actually be applied, but for the most part, it's like like the good Captain Gonzo says, it's not the drywall that's burning.
06-23-2007, 01:46 PM #5
My Two Cents (and, yeah, you probably owe me change)
I have to agree, at least initially it is not the drywall, or rather its painted paper covering, which is burning in a room and contents fire but, rather, the contents which, in recent years, have undergone an increase in fireload. All the video I have seen on local TV news about these products show an ordinary combustibles (scarp wood, bales of straw, etc.) burning in a large dog house size shed. A more realistic test would be a typical lower middle class living room with polyfoam padded synthetic fabric covered engineered lumber framed and plastic laminate covered particle board furniture on a manmade fiber carpet and all the clutter we typically have in that room and once it begins to burn let it flash over, then see what good it does.
On the other hand, I must say I do see the potential for exterior use on frame structures in urban / wildlands interface areas, where these products coupled with fire resistive roofing and firesafe landscaping, as well as the other practices the wildland fire folks recommend, could go a long way in reducing structure losses in those sort of events.
Well, that's my take on it, anyway.America's Volunteer Firefighters -- Putting the Wet Stuff on the Red Stuff since 1736.
"To make rescues fast, pull on past. Don't get stuck, because you blocked the truck."
"The reason Smokey Bear had no children? Every time his wife got hot, he beat her with a shovel."
"It's quite simple, really. You call, we come. Nothing to it. Whether you really need us or not, we'll come, because you called. That's what we do."
06-27-2007, 03:06 PM #6
- Join Date
- Jun 2007
Well put... Prevention/reduction, it's the name of the game!!!
06-27-2007, 07:13 PM #7
I agree with the above assesments. But I will add, that it may add that extra time to allow for a knock down in a building with truss construction. I am not advocating making an attack if the trusses have had exposure, but this will slow how long it takes for the trusses to be exposed and possibly make a difference between a knockdown of a room and contents or writing off a building due to a possible collapse. Obviously conditions and tactics need to taken into account and nothing can take the place of proper size up. But with a trend towards SFD's being built with trusses and few requirements to mark them, this could help save one of our lives.
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