MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Firefighters say it's a good idea to update your home disaster plan based on how old your house is.

Turns out, newer homes burn faster than older homes do because of newer building and home furnishing materials.

"These materials that we’re dealing with now aren’t just made of full wood product. But they’re made of plastics. And these plastics burn a lot quicker and a lot hotter, and it makes that timeline so much shorter," said Forrest Smith, who is a deputy chief at the Mesa Fire Department.

"Typically, you have about 20 minutes in an older home for a structure to burn through and through," said Smith. "Nowadays, you have about four minutes to get out of your home," he said.

What that means is that the stopwatch starts a lot sooner to get out of the house if and when a fire starts.

Firefighters recommend using newer smoke alarms, sleeping with bedroom doors closed and creating and practicing a disaster plan. That plan should include two exits from every room and a meeting place outside the home. It should also include a plan to deal with pets, a fireproof safe for important documents and copies of family pictures already loaded onto the cloud.

Morgan Loew's hard-hitting investigations can be seen weekdays on CBS 5 News at 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

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