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Does Climate Change Increase Your Need for Fire Suppression?

Does Climate Change Increase Your Need for Fire Suppression?

Posted 5/31/2023

Alt Title: Is Climate Change Making Fire Suppression More Necessary?

We've all heard about the dangers of climate change by now, and we know it's imperative to work collectively to reduce emissions and reverse these negative environmental effects. But how does climate change affect you on an individual level? How does climate change influence your fire risk – and need for fire suppression?

Climate Change and Fire Risks

Climate change is a complex set of changing environmental conditions, many of which directly influence the chances of a fire developing and the intensity of that fire. In addition to increasing temperatures and disrupting local ecosystems, climate change has the potential to create more extreme weather events, producing them more frequently with greater intensity.

How exactly does climate change impact your fire risk?

There are three main variables to study here:

·       Rising temperatures. First, climate change is associated with rising temperatures. Yes, winter is still cold and it's still common to experience days with lower-than-average temperatures. But overall, the trend is rising. Rising temperatures make it much harder to control fires and much easier for fires to spread.

·       Drier conditions. Rising temperatures also play a role in creating drier conditions. More heat means more evaporation, which means the soil dries out faster and local vegetation can't hold on to moisture. When trees, grass, soil, and other environmental elements are extremely dry, it's very easy for them to catch fire.

·       Aberrant weather patterns. We also need to consider aberrant weather patterns that have emerged as a result of climate change. Winds can be stronger and less predictable, allowing the fire to spread faster. And rainfall may be pushed away from areas that are already experiencing droughts, making it harder to fight back against existing wildfires and making already-dry conditions worse.

In other words, climate change does increase your fire risk. Climate change doesn't directly influence ignition events; in other words, climate change doesn't have the power to start fires. But it does create conditions that make fires easier to start, easier to spread, and more dangerous.

Most wildfires are still started by human ignition events, such as lazily throwing away a cigarette or leaving a campfire unattended. And most domestic and business fires are started by negligent activities, such as cooking irresponsibly. But once a fire is started, climate change makes it more likely that the fire will become a dangerous problem.

Individual Risk Factors

Of course, while climate change is a global threat, some people are going to be more impacted by it than others. Consider these variables when determining your level of risk and how to respond to climate change developments.

·       Geographic location. Some areas are much more susceptible to fires than others. Generally, the drier and hotter the area is, the more likely it is to experience wildfires and domestic fires. California experiences more wildfires than any other area in the United States, and citizens need to think critically about their fire safety. Fire safety is also important in, say, the Northeastern U.S., but the risks are comparatively lower.

·       Time of the year. Historically, most wildfires have occurred between June and August, although climate change is widening this window. For the most part, you're more likely to experience a fire during hot, dry summer months. However, it's also worth noting that there are some increased risks of fire in winter as well; spending more time inside, hanging unpredictable lighting, using a fireplace, and cooking more frequently could all increase your fire risks as well (though these variables have little to do with climate change).

·       Local fire hazards. Are there any local fire hazards that could make ignition more likely? Climate change can make any ignition much more dangerous than usual, so it's especially important to pay attention to these ignition sources. Even basic appliances, like stoves and ovens, shouldn't be ignored. You need to identify the biggest threats in your home or organization and create safety standards so you can use them without increasing your fire risk significantly.

·       Building materials. You also need to consider the materials used in your building, since some materials are strictly safer than others when it comes to fire. Brick and steel structures, for example, are much less combustible than wooden ones.

·       Existing fire controls. Do you have any existing fire controls installed on your property? For example, a thorough fire suppression system could help you eradicate a local fire before it spreads out of control or fight back against an oppressive wildfire.

Investing in Fire Suppression and Fire Safety

No matter what, it's a good idea to invest in your fire suppression and fire safety. Climate change is increasing fire risks for individuals and organizations all over the planet, so even if you're not in a historically dangerous area, it's a good idea to protect yourself.

The first step is installing some sort of fire suppression system that triggers automatically when a fire is detected. If you install a modular system, you won't need to make any major changes to your plumbing, and if you install a clean agent system, you won't have to worry about damaging your property after triggering suppression.

Additionally, it's important to educate and train all the people in your house on the fundamentals of fire safety. Where are your escape routes? What should people do in an emergency? Practice a fire drill periodically so everyone has practice responding to a fire in progress.

Fighting Back Against Climate Change

Individually, there isn't much we can do against climate change. No one person can reverse decades of environmental damage. But it's still important to do what we can to minimize the effects and continued development of climate change – so in addition to optimizing your fire suppression, try to minimize your reliance on fossil fuels.

Are you ready to invest in robust protection from a multitude of fire hazards? Do you want to take action against the new threats that climate change is bringing to your doorstep? A modular, clean agent fire suppression system could be exactly what you need. Contact us for a free quote today!