NFPA releases 2010 Fire Loss in the US report

Published on September 16, 2011
New report shows lower number of fires but increased fire deaths

September 15, 2011 –Public fire departments responded to 1,331,500 fires in the United States during 2010, a slight decrease from the previous year and the lowest number since 1977, according to a new report (759 KB) issued by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

These fires caused an estimated 3,120 civilian fire deaths, a 4 percent increase from a year ago; an estimated 17,720 civilian fire injuries, also a 4 percent increase from the previous year; and more than $11.5 billion in property damage, a significant decrease from the year before.

Fire Loss in the U.S. analyzes 2010 figures for fires, civilian fire deaths, injuries, property damage, and intentionally set fires. Estimates are based on data collected from fire departments that responded to NFPA’s Annual National Fire Experience Survey.

There were an estimated 482,000 structure fires reported to fire departments in 2010, a very slight increase from a year ago. The number of structure fires was at their peak in 1977, the first year that NFPA implemented its current survey methodology, when 1,098,000 structure fires occurred. 

“We have made tremendous progress in reducing the fire problem in the United States since we began looking at these numbers in the late 70’s,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Communications for NFPA. “But this report shows us that more must be done to bring the numbers down even further. We continue to see the vast majority of deaths occurring in homes, a place where people often feel safest. These survey results will be combined with data from the U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA’s) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) to determine how often specific fire circumstances occur and where we can most effectively focus our efforts.”

Other key findings from the report include:

  • A fire department responded to a fire every 24 seconds.
  • 384,000 fires or 80 percent of all structure fires occurred in residential properties.
  • About 85 percent of all fire deaths occurred in the home.
  • 215,500 vehicle fires occurred in the U.S. during 2010, causing 310 civilian fire deaths, 1,590 civilian fire injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage.
  • 634,000 outside and other fires occurred in the U.S. during 2010 causing $501 million in property damage.

“USFA is pleased to share in the release of NFPA’s annual fire loss report,” said Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator Glenn Gaines. “NFPA’s survey is greatly valued by USFA and aids in producing national estimates of more detailed fires and losses as reported to NFIRS. These combined efforts enable us to analyze the fire problem at a more detailed level and develop prevention strategies to reduce the risk of fire and loss of life and property to the American public.”

Download the full report “Fire Loss in the United States during 2010”.

About NFIRS and NFPA’s National Fire Experience Survey
The NFPA Annual National Fire Experience Survey is used to make estimates of the overall fire problem in the United States with breakdowns by general occupancy, size of community, and region of the country. This survey when used in conjunction with the USFA’s NFIRS allows national estimates of more detailed aspects of the fire problem.

NFIRS represents the world’s largest, national, annual database of fire incident information.  NFIRS is a voluntary reporting system administered by the USFA and organized at the national level. NFIRS reports, filled out by local fire officers after each incident, provide the most detailed incident information of any national database. NFIRS is the only database capable of addressing national patterns for fires of all sizes by specific occupancy and fire cause. NFIRS also captures information on when the fire occurred, how much it spread, and the effectiveness of automatic detection and suppression equipment.

About the U.S. Fire Administration
USFA is America’s fire and emergency services leader. The mission of the USFA is to provide National leadership to foster a solid foundation for fire and emergency services stakeholders in prevention, preparedness, and response.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 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. Visit NFPA’s website at www.nfpa.org for more information.

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Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1 617 984-7275