UL Test Reveals New Homes Burn 800% Faster Than Old Homes

Oriented strand board beams, which are used to build new homes, can collapse after just three and half minutes during a fire.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department (JFRD) is urging all homeowners to install smoke alarms outside of every bedroom as the best line of defense to alert residents to smoke from a house fire.

The department recently learned that most new homes are being built out of oriented strand board (OSB), which is made of wood pieces that are compressed together and then glued. These boards are being used as support beams.

An Underwriters Laboratories (UL) test revealed that OSB beams burn 800 percent faster than solid beams, which were used to build older homes, News4Jax reports.

JFRD firefighters conducted an experiment in which they set a controlled fire under two solid wood beams and two OSB beams.

The result?

Although charred, the solid wood beam remained intact. However, the OSB beam collapsed after just three and a half minutes because the fire melted the glue holding the compressed wood together.

In addition to installing smoke detectors outside every bedroom, JFRD urge homeowners to create an escape plan. The department also suggests for homeowners to have a fire extinguisher in your home, especially in your kitchen, since kitchen fires are common.

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