on Fires in the United States
U.S. has one of the highest fire death rates in the
industrialized world. For 1998, the U.S. fire death
rate was 14.9 deaths per million population. Between
1994 and 1998, an average of 4,400 Americans lost
their lives and another 25,100 were injured annually
as the result of fire.
100 firefighters are killed each year in duty-related
year, fire kills more Americans than all natural disasters
is the third leading cause of accidental death in
the home; at least 80 percent of all fire deaths occur
2 million fires are reported each year. Many others
go unreported, causing additional injuries and property
loss. Direct property loss due to fires is estimated
at $8.6 billion annually.
were 1,755,000 fires in the United States in 1998.
41% were Outside Fires
29% were Structure Fires
were Vehicle Fires
8 % were fires of other types
fires represent 22 percent of all fires and 74 percent
of structure fires.
in 1-2 family dwellings most often start in the:
Living Room 7.9%
Laundry Area 4.7%
Apartment fires most often start in the:
Living Room 6.2%
Laundry Area 3.3%
The South has the highest fire death rate per-capita
with 18.4 civilian deaths per million population.
percent of all fatalities occur in the home. Of those,
approximately 85 percent occur in single-family homes
of Fires and Fire Deaths
is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S. It
is also the leading cause of home fire injuries. Cooking
fires often result from unattended cooking and human
error, rather than mechanical failure of stoves or
ovens. Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire
deaths. Smoke alarms and smolder-resistant bedding
and upholstered furniture are significant fire deterrents.
is the second leading cause of residential fires and
the second leading cause of fire deaths. However,
heating fires are a larger problem in single family
homes than in apartments. Unlike apartments, the heating
systems in single family homes are often not professionally
is both the third leading cause of residential fires
and residential fire deaths. In commercial properties,
arson is the major cause of deaths, injuries and dollar
is Most at Risk
citizens age 70 and over and children under the age
of 5 have the greatest risk of fire death. The fire
death risk among seniors is more than double the average
fire death risk for children under age 5 is nearly
double the risk of the average population. Children
under the age of 10 accounted for an estimated 17
percent of all fire deaths in 1996.
die or are injured in fires almost twice as often
Americans and American Indians have significantly
higher death rates per capita than the national average.
Although African Americans comprise 13 percent of
the population, they account for 26 percent of fire
A working smoke alarm dramatically increases a person's
chance of surviving a fire. Approximately 88 percent
of U.S. homes have at least one smoke alarm. However,
these alarms are not always properly maintained and
as a result might not work in an emergency. There
has been a disturbing increase over the last ten years
in the number of fires that occur in homes with non-functioning
alarms. It is estimated that over 40 percent of residential
fires and three-fifths of residential fatalities occur
in homes with no smoke alarms.
Residential sprinklers have become more cost effective
for homes. Currently, few homes are protected by them.
National Fire Protection Association 1998 Fire Loss
in the U.S. and Fire in the United States 1987-1996
TO FIRE PREVENTION TIPS