What should I know about NFPA’s fire statistics?
NFPA’s statistics are estimates based on fires reported to local fire departments. Adjustments have been made to compensate for incomplete reporting and inconsistent or missing data. Trend data that indicate if the problem is getting better or worse are more important than data for one year.
Where does the data come from?
Only fires reported to fire departments are included in our estimates. Fires handled exclusively by individuals, industrial fire brigades, or state or federal agencies are not included. Detailed information about fire causes and circumstances comes from the U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA’s) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). NFIRS participation is voluntary at the state level with different states having different reporting requirements, ranging from mandatory for all incidents to completely voluntary.
NFPA’s survey for the U.S. was designed as a statistical sample, based on size of community protected which allows estimates to be made of the totals. However, the survey collects summary data and does not collect detailed information needed to deal with specific fire problems. By dividing totals from the survey by the totals from NFIRS, we develop multipliers that we can use with the NFIRS totals to compensate for departments who do not participate in NFIRS.
Read more about how NFPA estimates fires and fire losses.
2011 latest estimates on major fire causes