As a Construction Official, the safety of my family, friends, and co-workers is always on my mind. Since joining USA Architects, I annually promote Fire Prevention Week. But this year, life safety and fire prevention is close to my heart. One recent morning a lamp malfunctioned in a bay window at my Aunt’s house. She was not home. A neighbor spotted the fire almost immediately, called the Fire Department, and grabbed a garden hose. The good news is the fire was out within seconds of the Fire Department arriving, the bad news is that the damage was done. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house. If my Aunt had been home, she would have probably been in the shower, which is on the same level as the fire. As she walked out of the bathroom upon hearing the smoke alarm, she would have been hit with thick black smoke with temperatures of 100 degrees at floor level and 600 degrees at face level! Inhaling the air can scorch your lungs and the heat can melt clothes to your skin. My Aunt was very fortunate. Her kitchen cabinets, on the other side of her house, however, were melted and everything was a shade of grey. She is displaced from her home for 6 months in order for repairs to be completed.