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2. Free site visit
If it will help decide on the best way to proceed with your enquiry, one of our team will make a free visit to your premises to assess your requirements.
3. Free quotation
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We'll send an engineer to carry out the work as soon as we can. This will be very soon for maintenance and fire extinguishers, and a few weeks for full alarm systems.

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How Fast Does a Fire Spread?

How Fast Does a Fire Spread?

It’s the worst nightmare of property owners everywhere. The breakout of a fire on your premises can be incredibly destructive, to both human life and your property. 

But if the worst does happen, it’s important to act fast and evacuate as soon as possible. A fire can engulf a property extremely quickly, and if you don’t react in a timely manner, it could be fatal.

Scutum South East’s team of fire safety professionals is vastly experienced in all areas of fire protection. As one of the UK’s leading fire safety groups, we’ve helped countless properties across London and the surrounding areas safeguard their premises.


How Fast Does a Fire Spread?

30 seconds. Yes, you read that correctly, it takes approximately 30 seconds for a fire to gain speed and start to exponentially spread. As long as the three core elements of heat, oxygen and fuel are sustained, then it will be just a matter of minutes before a fire can become out of control.

In fact, it can take just five minutes for a home to become fully engulfed by a fire (a commercial, industrial or non-residential building may take slightly longer due to its size), demonstrating just how important it is to have rigorous fire safety procedures and protection in place.

The Stages of a Fire 

Understanding the speed of a fire is paramount to protecting both property and human life. By acknowledging just how quickly they can spread, it can help you to understand what fire protection services you require.   

  • After 30 seconds: As previously mentioned, it only takes 30 seconds from the start of a fire, for it to get out of control
  • After 1 minute: After the first full minute of a fire, the temperature of the property will have risen significantly and smoke will be rapidly spreading 
  • After 2 minutes: By now your property’s smoke detectors should be going off, alerting you to the presence of the fire    
  • After 3 minutes: Smoke will have started spreading into rooms other than the one the fire originated from. As well as this, the temperature of the room where the fire started may have reached more than 250°C, a temperature no human can survive. 
  • After 4 minutes: Upper floors will now be covered with smoke as the fire makes its way through the building. By this point, evacuation will become a challenge. 
  • After 5 minutes: By this stage, the entire building could be up in flames, including the property’s exterior 

How to Stop a Fire Spreading

As always when it comes to fire protection, stopping a fire from starting at all is the best way to deal with the risks of a blaze. For commercial, industrial or non-residential properties, fire safety training for staff can play an important role in stopping a fire from breaking out.  

Unfortunately, preventative measures can sometimes be bypassed. If this is the case, then it’s important that you have appropriate measures in place. This includes fire doors, which are a great way of stopping a fire from moving from room to room as quickly as it otherwise would. Many commercial buildings have lifts in place, which can actually encourage the spread of fire. They act like chimneys, and provide an ideal passage to upper floors, helping a fire reach them faster than they ordinarily would. With this in mind, it’s vital to have something in place to keep the fire at bay for as long as possible if you have lifts on your property. 

Smoke inhalation is potentially more harmful and deadly than the fire itself. So as well as preventing the fire from spreading, keeping the smoke contained is important, too. Having fire stopping measures in place can compartmentalise the fire and its smoke, sealing any gaps, openings or areas where they may escape. 

Finally, the best way to stop a fire from spreading once it has started is to extinguish it immediately. Having fire extinguishers installed on your property can help quickly and efficiently put out a fire, but remember different types of fires require different extinguishers, so speak to your fire protection provider about what is suitable for your property.

If you’re looking to implement fire protection systems to safeguard your property, contact Scutum South East today. Our team regularly installs and maintains a whole host of systems that are guaranteed to keep your premises safe from the threat of fire. Get in touch to find out more.   

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About Scutum South East

Scutum South East is a leading expert in fire safety and security solutions for businesses and organisations located across South East England, including London and Surrey.

From fire alarms, fire extinguishers and fire risk assessments to access control, CCTV and intruder alarm systems – and a lot more besides – we offer a comprehensive range of products and services designed to keep you, your business and your staff and visitors safe.

With decades of industry experience to call on, we’re proud to hold accreditations from leading trade associations and bodies such as British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE), the British Fire Consortium, the Fire Industry Association (FIA) and Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB).

If you’d like to find out more about Scutum South East, get in touch with our friendly team or explore our products and services on our site.