U.S. Home Structure Fires
U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 373,900 home structure1 fires per year during 2005-2009. These fires caused an annual average of
2,650 civilian fire deaths,
12,890 civilian fire injuries, and
$7.1 billion in direct damage.
92% of all structure fire deaths resulted from home fires.
On average, seven people died in U.S. home fires every day.
Causes and Circumstances of Home Fires
Details from the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System show that in
Cooking equipment was the leading cause of home structure fires and home fire injuries.
Smoking was the leading cause of civilian home fire deaths. Heating equipment was the second most common cause of home fire fatalities.
Almost all homes have at least one smoke alarm, but almost two-thirds of reported home fire deaths in 2005-2009 resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
Home Fires: How Often and How Likely?
Sometimes it is easier to think of the statistics in terms of time. The statistics below are based on home structure fires reported during 2005-2009.
Reported home fires by time
More than 1,000 home structure fires were reported on an average day. This translates to 43 fires every hour or one reported home fire every 84 seconds.
Home fires killed an average of seven people every day.
A civilian (non-firefighter) home fire injury is reported every 41 minutes.
Home fires cause roughly $225 in damage every second.
The odds of a reported fire
According to the U.S Census Bureau, the U.S, resident population averaged 301 million people during 2005-2009 and roughly 115 million households. That means that, on average during this period:
● Roughly one of 800 people had a reported home fire each year.
● Roughly one of every 310 households had a reported home fire each year.
● On average, one of every 114,000 U.S. residents died in a home fire per year.
Food For Thought!
This is an excellent report from NFPA to help us better understand where and how most home fires happen. This information can help us educate our customers to prevent fires and fire deaths. However there was one part that really jumped out at me.
Reported home structure fires fell to a new low in 2009, 51% lower than in 1980.
I could really get on a soap box and go on forever about 51 % less fires and we still kill about 100 firefighters a year, but I will refrain for the sake of the reader’s time!
So I have one question I want you to ask yourself. What does your department spend the most amount of time on in training?
More than ever before we need training with safe live fire evolutions! The numbers don’t lie we respond to 51% less fires.
Lt. John Shafer