Characteristics of home fire victims

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"Characteristics of Home Fire Victims(PDF, 2 MB)

Fact sheet
"Characteristics of Home Fire Victims" fact sheet (PDF, 58 KB)

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Report: NFPA's "Characteristics of Home Fire Victims" (PDF, 2 MB)
Author: Marty Ahrens
Issued: October 2014

This report provides a comprehensive analysis of the fatal and non-fatal victims of reported home fires in the U.S. with information about victim age, sex, and race, and geographical region of the fire. Relative risk, which is used to compare risk in a specific group to the general population, is examined by age and race. Victim age breakdowns are also provided for major fire causes. Victim factors such as activity and location when injured are also discussed.

Report highlights

  • During 2007-2011, home1 structure fires killed an estimated average of 2,570 people and caused an average of 13,210 reported civilian injuries per year.
  • Only 13% of the U.S. population is 65 or older, but 30% of fatal home fire victims were at least 65 years of age.  
  • The percentage of fatal home fire victims under five years of age fell from 18% in 1980 to 6% in 2011, while the percentage of victims 65 or older increased from 19% to 31% over the same period.
  • Compared to their share of the population, African Americans were roughly twice as likely to be killed or injured in a home fire in 2007-2011 as the overall population. The difference was even greater for children and older adults. 
  • Males were more likely to be killed or injured in home fires compared to females (56% of the deaths and 53% of the injuries).
1Homes include one- or two-family homes and apartments or other multi-family housing.