Report: NFPA's "Home Structure Fires"
Author: Marty Ahrens
Issued: September 2015
Most structure fires, fire deaths and fire injuries occur in the home. Using data from the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and the National Fire Protection Association’s fire department experience survey, this analysis of frequency, causes and circumstances of home fires and losses can inform prevention efforts.
NFPA estimates that U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 357,000 home structure fires per year during 2009-2013. These fires caused an estimated average of 2,470 civilian deaths, 12,890 civilian injuries, and $6.9 billion in direct property damage per year. Seventy percent of reported home fires and 84% of the home fire deaths occurred in one- or two-family homes, including manufactured homes. The remainder occurred in apartments or other multi-family housing.
Cooking equipment was the leading cause of home structure fires and fire injuries. Smoking materials were the leading cause of home fire deaths. One-quarter of home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom; another quarter by fires originating in the living room, family room, or den; 16% were caused by fires starting in the kitchen. Three out of five home deaths resulted from fires with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Compared to other age groups, older adults were more likely to be killed by a home fire.
While considerable progress has been made, with an average of seven home fire deaths in the U.S. every day, there is still much work to be done.