Civilian fire deaths in the home in the United States
The study conducted by NFPA, Fire Loss in the United States During 2005 (PDF, 64 KB), presents an annual snapshot of fire loss across the United States.
As always, home fires accounted for the most fire deaths - 82% of people died in home fires in 2005. Fatalities occurring from fires in cars and other highway vehicles, as in previous years, continue to be responsible for the second highest number of fire deaths across the country. Highway vehicles were responsible for an estimated 500 fire deaths (14% of the total) in 2005. All other buildings, vehicles, and locations accounted for 145 fire deaths (4%).
In 2005, public fire departments responded to an estimated 1.6 million fires. This included 381,000 reported home structure fires, 130,000 other structure fires, 259,000 highway vehicle fires, 31,000 other vehicle fires, and 801,000 outdoor fires. An estimated half of all fires responded to were outdoors, principally involving brush or rubbish.
An estimated 17,925 people, excluding firefighters, were injured by fire in 2005. This was the second lowest total recorded by NFPA, slightly higher than the estimated 17,785 injuries reported in 2004.
There was a significant increase of 9% in property damage loss from the year prior, but this primarily reflected the unusually low damage toll in 2004. In 2005, fires resulted in an estimated $10.6 billion in property damage. The damage total was the fourth lowest since the late 1970s, after adjustment for inflation.
Home fires continue to be the number one cause of fire deaths. Home fires also accounted for 74% of total reported civilian fire injuries and 63% of total reported direct property damage. The NFPA study suggested that fire prevention and safety in the home are key to continued reductions in the overall fire problem. The following strategies are recommended to prevent home fires and reduce their losses:
NFPA’s website provides comprehensive information on fire prevention and safety, including recommendations for candle safety, cooking safety, home escape planning, smoke alarms and many more safety-related topics.
NFPA has been a worldwide leader in providing fire, electrical, building, and life safety to the public since 1896. The mission of the international nonprofit organization is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training and education.
Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1-617-984-7275