Fire in the United States
1. The U.S. has one of the
highest fire death rates in the industrialized
2. About 5,000 people die
each year in this country as the result of fire,
and another 25,000 are injured.
3. About 100 fire fighters
are killed annually in duty-related incidents.
4. Fire is the third
leading cause of accidental death in the home; at
least 80% of all deaths occur in residences.
5. Each year fire kills
more Americans than all natural disasters
6. More than two million
fires are reported each year. Many others go
unreported, causing additional injuries and
7. Direct property loss due
to fires is estimated at $9.4 billion annually.
Causes of Fires and Fire
Cooking is the leading
cause of home fires in the U.S. It is also the
leading cause of fire injuries. Cooking fires
often result from unattended cooking and human
error, rather than mechanical failure of stoves
Careless smoking is the
leading cause of fire deaths. Smoke detectors and
smoldering resistant bedding and upholstered
furniture are significant fire deterrents.
Heating is the second
leading cause of residential fires and ties with
arson as the second leading cause of deaths.
However, heating fires are a larger problem in
single family homes than in apartments. The
heating systems in single family homes are often
not professionally maintained.
Arson is the third leading
cause of residential fires and a leading cause of
residential fire deaths. In commercial properties,
arson is the major cause of deaths, injuries, and
Who Is Most At Risk?
Senior citizens and
children under the age of five have the greatest
risk of fire death.
The fire death risk among
seniors is more than double the average
The fire death risk for
children under five is nearly double the risk of
the average population.
Children under the age of
ten accounted for an estimated 20% of all fire
deaths in 1997.
Men die or are injured in
fires twice as often as women.
What Saves Lives
A working smoke alarm
dramatically increases a person's chance of
surviving a fire. Approximately 90% 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% of residential fires and three-fifths of
residential fatalities occur in homes with no
Residential sprinklers have
become more cost effective for homes. Currently,
few homes are protected by them.
Courtesy of the U.S. Fire Administration.