Fire Statistics in the United States

1. The U.S. has one of the highest fire death rates in the modern world. In 1998, the U.S. fire death rate was 15.2 deaths per million in the population.
2. In the year 2000 there was 370,000 home fires in the United States. The result of those fires was 20,000 deaths and burn injuries combined. Just think how many people from around the world die or are injured daily due to home fires. It has been shown that children and the elderly are especially at risk in home fires. This is due to the fact that our children and the elderly are less able to escape a fire. We can improve the chances that our family will survive a home fire by installing smoke alarms and practicing fire safety and how to exit when the alarm sounds.
3. Each year, approximately 100 firefighters are killed in duty-related incidents.
4. Every year, fire kills more Americans than all natural disasters combined.
5. Fire is the third source of accidental deaths in the home; it has been seen that at least 80 percent of all fire deaths occur in residences.
6. Each year approximately 2 million fires are reported. Countless others go unreported, causing additional injuries and property loss.
7. Property loss due directly to fires are estimated at $8.6 billion annually.

Where Fires Take Place

1. In 1998, there were 1,755,000 fires in the United States. Of these:

   A. 41% were Outside Fires
   B. 29% were Structure Fires
   C. 22% were Vehicle Fires 8 % were fires of other types
   D. Residential fires represent 22 percent of all fires and 74 percent of structure fires.

Fires in 1-2 family dwellings most often start in the:

   A. Kitchen 23.5%
   B. Bedroom 12.7%
   C. Living Room 7.9%
   D. Chimney 7.1
   E. Laundry Area 4.7%

Apartment fires most often start in the:

   A. Kitchen 29%
   B. Bedroom 13%
   C. Living Room 7%
   D. Laundry Area 4%
   E. Bathroom 2.4%

The South part of the United States, has the highest fire death rate per-capita with 18.4 civilian deaths per million population.

   - 80 percent of all fatalities occur in the home. Of those, approximately 85 percent occur in single-family homes and duplexes.

Causes of Fires and Fire Deaths

   A. The leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the U.S. is cooking. Cooking fires often result from unattended cooking and human error, rather than mechanical failure of stoves or ovens.
   B. Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths. Smoke alarms, smolder-resistant bedding and upholstered furniture are significant fire deterrents.
   C. The second leading cause of residential fires and deaths due to fires is heating. 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 maintained.
   D. Arson 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 loss.

Who is Most at Risk

   1. Senior citizens age 70 and over and children under the age of 5 have the greatest risk of fire death.
   2. The fire death risk among seniors is more than double the average population.
   3. The fire death risk for children under age 5 is nearly double the risk of the average population.
   4. Children under the age of 10 accounted for an estimated 17 percent of all fire deaths in 1996.
   5. Men die or are injured in fires almost twice as often as women.
   6. African Americans and American Indians have considerably higher death rates per capita than the national average.
   7. Even though African Americans contain 13 percent of the population, they account for 26 percent of fire deaths.

What Saves Lives

   1. A working smoke alarm significantly increases a individual's chance of surviving a fire.
   2. Roughly 88 percent of U.S. homes have at least one smoke alarm. Nevertheless, these alarms are not always correctly maintained and as a result might not work in an emergency. There has been an alarming increase over the last ten years in the number of fires that occur in homes with non-functioning alarms.
   3. It is predicted that over 40 percent of residential fires and three-fifths of residential fatalities occur in homes with no smoke alarms.
   4. Residential sprinklers have become more cost effective for homes. Currently, few homes are protected by them.