Report: NFPA's "The Total Cost of Fire in the United States"
Author: John R. Hall, Jr.
Includes human and economic losses, costs of the fire service, built-in fire protection, and costs associated with the insurance industry.
The total cost of fire in the United States, as it is defined for this report, is a combination of the losses caused by fire and the money spent on fire prevention, protection and mitigation to prevent worse losses, by preventing them, containing them, detecting them quickly, and suppressing them effectively. For 2010, that total cost is estimated at $328 billion, or roughly 2.2% of U.S. gross domestic product. Economic loss (property damage) – reported or unreported, direct or indirect – represents only $14.8 billion of this total. The net costs of insurance coverage ($19.2 billion), the cost of career fire departments ($42.6 billion), new building costs for fire protection ($31.7 billion), other economic costs ($47.5 billion), the monetary value of donated time from volunteer firefighters ($140.7 billion), and the estimated monetary equivalent for the civilian and firefighter deaths and injuries due to fire ($31.9 billion), all are larger components than property loss. Several of the formulas used have been reworked, with results recalculated back to 1980.