Report: NFPA's "Home Fires Involving Heating Equipment"
Author: Richard Campbell
Issued: December 2018
Heating equipment is a leading cause of fires in U.S. homes. Local fire departments responded to an estimated average of 52,050 fires involving heating equipment each year in 2012-2016. These fires resulted in annual losses of 490 civilian deaths, 1,400 civilian injuries, and $1 billion in direct property damage. The homes include one- and two-family homes (including manufactured homes) and apartments (including townhouses and other multi-family dwellings). Space heaters are the type of heating equipment most often involved in home heating fires, figuring in two of every five of these fires and accounting for 86% of associated civilian deaths, 78% of civilian injuries, and 54% of direct property damage.
- Heating equipment fires accounted for 15% of all reported home fires in 2012-2016 (second behind cooking) and 19% of home fire deaths.
- The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (27%) was failure to clean, principally from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.
- The leading factor contributing to ignition for home heating fire deaths (54%) was heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding.
- Most home heating fire deaths (86%) involved stationary or portable space heaters.
- Nearly half (48%) of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and February.
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