Saving Lives II: Fire, Demented Driving and Random Acts of God

Each year, fire claims more Canadian lives than all other natural disasters combined. Fires cause billions of dollars in property damage and destroys vital natural areas. To combat loss of life and property, building techniques have been developed to protect your family, home and belongings from fire damage. ICFs are the leading materials in fire safety technology. ICFs block wall systems provide solid concrete, reinforced exteriors that have a 3 to 4 hour fire rating. The exterior Styrofoam insulation simply melts off the walls rather than combusting. A study conducted by the Southwest Pacific Research Institute found the emissions from burning the insulating foam on ICFs “no more toxic” than smoke from wood frame housing.

A Kansas City Habitat for Humanity home was the recent victim of an arson attack. A firebomb thrown at the house landed on the front porch. Made from ICFs, the house offered little by way of flammable material. Damage from the attack amounted to only $500; the plastic porch soffit melted and the front door was replaced because firefighters kicked it in. The interior of the home was completely unscathed.

Concrete homes have time and again proven their resistance to fire and many insurance companies offer premiums reduced by 10 to 15% for fire insurance on concrete homes.

Fire isn’t the only thing ICFs protect families from. Just ask Jack Burns who was fast asleep in bed at 5.30 on a summer morning in 2002 when a 500 000 pound boulder came crashing down the hill outside his home and stopped a few feet from his bed. The boulder measured 12 feet by 16 feet and could not be budged with dynamite; a backhoe with a jackhammer had to break the boulder into smaller pieces before removal. Jack would most certainly not have lived to tell the tale if his home had not been constructed from ICFs.

Homes built with ICFs have also stood their ground when pitted against the wayward driver. This unbelievable video footage shows the driver in an SUV careening through the garden, knocking down the wooden hand railing and flower pots only to be stopped in its tracks by the ICF wall. Home owner Ryan Heacock said he was relieved that the wall; “…Bounced that Explorer off like a little toy.” The video footage was shot by Heacock’s security cameras. The wall remained intact with the only damage to the siding and insulation. Heacock said; “I can’t imagine what would have happened if this was a wood home!”



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