Deaths and injuries due to non-fire burns

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Report: NFPA's "Deaths and Injuries Due to Non-Fie Burns" (PDF)
Author: John R. Hall, Jr.
Issued: April 2009

Statistics from the U.S. death certificate database, the CPSC database on injuries reported to hospital emergency rooms, and the annual CDC in-person health interview survey, all on numbers and types of burn injuries. 


In 2003-2007, an estimated 224,200 burn injuries – 30,300 with fire involvement and 193,900 (86%) without fire involvement – were reported to hospital emergency rooms. Thermal burns account for just over half (54%) of total burns, just under half (47%) of burns without fire involvements, and nearly all (95%) burns with fire involvement. These statistics are derived from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), a sample of U.S. hospital emergency rooms.

Thermal burns not caused by fire effects can be caused by contact with hot objects such as space heaters, stove burners, or clothes irons. Scald burns can be caused by any hot liquid, fluid, or vapor, including hot tap water, overheated beverages, steam, and hot oil. “Radiation” burns rarely involve radiation but include sunburn and flash burns to eyes, the latter involving causes such as welding without use of eye protection.