Disaster Mitigation

Fire Loss Overview

Fire Loss Overview

According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,348,500 fires in 2009. These fires resulted in 3,010 civilian fire fatalities, 17,050 civilian fire injuries and an estimated $12,531,000,000 in direct property loss.

There was a civilian fire death every 175 minutes and a civilian fire injury every 31 minutes in 2009. Home fires caused 2,565, or 85%, of the civilian fire deaths. Fires accounted for five percent of the 26,534,000 total calls. Eight percent of the calls were false alarms; sixty-five percent of the calls were for aid such as EMS.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), lighted smoking materials, especially cigarettes, are the leading cause of fatal fires in the home, causing 700 to 900 deaths each year. The NFPA lists cooking equipment as the leading cause of home fires and the fourth leading cause of home-fire deaths. Most cooking equipment fires involve a range or cook-top and happen when people leave what they are cooking unattended. Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires and third leading cause of fire deaths in the home according to the NFPA. Smoke inhalation, not burns, is the cause of most fire deaths. Many times, people are overcome by smoke and cannot escape burning buildings. Smoke can be composed of deadly particles, vapors and toxic gases.

Projections from NFPA’s annual fire department experience data show that reported fires and fire deaths have fallen since 1977, the first year of available data. The drop in population-based rates is even sharper. In 2009, home structure fires accounted for 27% of the reported fires. However, these incidents caused 85% of all civilian fire deaths. Vehicle fires accounted for 16% of the reported fires and 9% of the civilian fire deaths. Roughly half (48%) of the reported fires were outside or other non-structure, non-vehicle fires. In 2009, only 5% of all fire department responses were to fires while 64% were medical aid responses. Since 1980, medical aid calls have more than tripled.

The Total Cost of Fire in the United States

The total cost of fire in the United States, as it is defined, is a combination of the losses caused by fire and the money spent on fire prevention, protection and mitigation to prevent worse losses, by preventing them, containing them, detecting them quickly, and suppressing them effectively. For 2008, that total cost is estimated at $362 billion, or roughly 2.5% of U.S. gross domestic product. Economic loss (property damage) – reported or unreported, direct or indirect – represents only $20.1 billion of this total. The net costs of insurance coverage ($15.2 billion), the cost of career fire departments ($39.7 billion), new building costs for fire protection ($62.7 billion), other economic costs ($44.0 billion), the monetary value of donated time from volunteer firefighters ($138 billion), and the estimated monetary equivalent for the civilian and firefighter deaths and injuries due to fire ($42.4 billion), all are larger components than property loss.

Florida Fire Statistics

Did you know in the State of Florida a Fire Department responds...

  • Every 15 seconds for an emergency call for service.
  • Every 20 seconds for an emergency medical call for service.
  • Every 9 minutes for a fire emergency.
  • Every 30 minutes for a building fire.
  • Every 48 minutes for a vehicle fire.

Fire Loss Resource Links

National Fire Protection Association®

The National Fire Protection Association's mission is to reduce fire's impact on quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training and education. This Web site has fire statistics and information.

United State Fire Administration

A part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency under the Department of Homeland Security. Its mission is to reduce life and economic losses due to fire and related emergencies through leadership, advocacy, coordination and support.

National Safety Council®

Features safety resources for home, environment and workplace.

US Consumer Products Safety Commission

This independent federal agency's main purpose is to reduce injuries to consumers. The Commission issues consumer product safety alerts, and may have helpful information relative to your claim.

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