Fire Facts

  • U.S. fire departments respond to an average of one home fire every 86 seconds.
  • Between 2011 and 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 358,500 home structure fires per year. These fires caused 12,300 civilian injuries, 2,510 civilian deaths, and $6.7 billion in direct damage.
  • On average, seven people per day die in U.S. home fires.
  • Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home-fire injuries.
  • For decades, smoking has been the leading cause of home-fire deaths.
  • Heating equipment was involved in one in every five home-fire deaths.
  • According to an NFPA survey, only one in every three American households has actually developed and practiced a home fire-escape plan.
  • While 71% of Americans have an escape plan in case of a fire, only 47% of them have practiced it.
  • One-third of American households who made an estimate thought they would have at least six minutes before a fire in their home became threatening. The time available is often less. And only eight% said their first thought upon hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out.
  • Smoke alarms provide an early warning of a fire, giving people additional time to escape.
  • Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a reported home fire in half.
  • Three in every five home-fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (38%) or no working smoke alarms (21%).
  • When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead. Dead batteries caused one-quarter (24%)of the smoke alarm failures.
  • Interconnected smoke alarms throughout the home increase safety. When one sounds, they all sound. It is especially important to have interconnected alarms if you sleep with the door closed.
  • Between 2011 and 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to a per year average of 170,200 home structure fires that involved cooking equipment. These fires caused a per year average of 510 civilian deaths, 5470 civilian injuries, and $1.2 billion in direct property damage.
  • From 2011 to 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 466 home cooking fires per day.
  • Cooking is tied for the second leading cause of home fire deaths.
  • Unattended cooking is the leading factor contributing to these fires. Frying poses the greatest risk of fire.
  • Ranges, or cooktops, accounted for the majority (62%) of home cooking-fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 13%.
  • More than half of all cooking-fire injuries occurred when people tried to fight the fire themselves.
  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by the day before Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, Easter, and Christmas.
  • From 2009 to 2013, U.S. fire departments responded to 56,000 home structure fires that involved heating equipment. These fires caused 470 civilian fire deaths, 1,490 civilian injuries, and $1 billion in direct property damage.
  • The leading factor contributing to home-heating fires (30%) was a failure to clean. This usually involved creosote buildup- in chimneys.
  • Most home-heating fire deaths (84%) involved stationary or portable space heaters.
  • Nearly half (49%) of all home-heating fires occurred in December, January, and February.
  • Fire sprinklers reduce the risk of dying in a home fire by 80% and reduce the risk of property loss by 70%.
  • Fire sprinkler installation in new homes is cost effective, averaging 1-2% of a home’s total construction cost.
  • Only the sprinkler closest to the fire activates, preventing the spread of deadly toxic smoke and fire.
  • Home fire sprinklers protect lives by keeping fires small. Sprinklers can reduce the heat, flames, and smoke produced in a fire, allowing people more time to escape.
  • Home fire sprinklers activate on an individual basis. Only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, spraying water on the fire and not the rest of the home.
  • A home fire sprinkler can control or put out a fire with a fraction of the water that would be used by fire department hoses.
  • Accidental sprinkler discharges are rare.
  • Home fire sprinklers can be installed in new or existing homes. If you are remodeling or building your home, install home fire sprinklers.
  • Home fire sprinklers work along with smoke alarms to save lives.