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Ceturtdiena 27.07.2017 | Name days: Marta, Dita
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Specialists: noxious smoke from the fire claims more lives than the flames

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe biggest damages during a fire are caused by flames, whereas noxious smoke from the fire kills more people, as noted by firefighting specialists.

It should be noted that specialists say this problem that is rarely discussed in society and among specialists. This is why fire safety and the effect of toxic smoke on the environment and human lives was being discussed at an international conference in Jelgava on 18 May.

As noted by fire safety specialist, forensics expert from Latvian Mg.sc.ing Valentins Buikis said it is vital to explain to society what happens when materials that become very toxic when burning are used in construction: «Modern construction materials become very toxic during a fire creating health and safety risks for other people residing in the building. While Latvia’s legislation does dictate requirements for materials used in construction, the level of toxicity of those materials is not regulated. Because of that, evaluation of this risk factor is left for the people to resolve.»

Continuing, Buikis emphasizes that builders have to think practically and build structures to last, picking perhaps not the cheapest but safer materials that would not burn or create toxic fumes upon exposure to fire.

The conference also addressed the matter of health of firefighters and the rates at which they get cancer. As noted by specialists, this problem remains unresolved in Latvia. Studies show that the majority of illnesses suffered by firefighters come from exposure to toxic substances in the air during fires.

Prolonged exposure to such substances causes serious damage to health. If the risk of toxicity is reduced for firefighter, it will be reduced for other people as well.

Statistics of accidents involving fires in Latvia are not all too optimistic –there are nine to ten thousand fires of different kind recorded in Latvia every year. Latvia is on the first place in terms of the number of fires – there are 6,400 fires per 1,000 residents recorded in the country on average (CTIF data for 2014). Latvia is also on the fourth place in terms of the number of deaths caused by fires – 4,700 deaths per 100,000 residents (CTIF data for 2014). Approximately 75% of all fires in Latvia take place inside buildings. This is why it is important to think of ways to reduce the toxicity of fires.

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