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Report: NFPA's "Fires in Health Care Facilities"
Author: Richard Campbell
Issued: September 2016

Structure fires in health care facilities have generally followed a steady downward trend over the past decade. This report provides estimates of fire frequency and associated losses for reported fires in: all health care properties; in nursing homes; in hospitals or hospices; in mental health facilities caring for those with developmental disabilities, mental illness or substance abuse issues; and in clinics or doctors’ offices. Estimates were derived from NFPA’s fire department survey and the USFA’s National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).

Report highlights

  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 5,650 structure fires in health care properties per year in 2009-2013.
  • These fires caused annual averages of four civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries, and $45 million in direct property damage.
  • In 2009-2013, cooking was the leading cause of fires in all health care properties, accounting for 65% of fires.
  • Most fires in these properties are small. Fire spread beyond the room of origin in only 4% of health care fires.
  • The fewest fires took place in the overnight hours between midnight and 6 a.m.

Leading Causes of Fires in Health Care Facilities, 2009-2013