Study: 92 Percent Of Fire Deaths Happen In Home Fires

According to a new study, Home Structure Fires, from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), home fires account for 92 percent of fire deaths that occur in structures. These fires cause an average of 2,840 civilian deaths each year.

“This study strongly underscores the need to aggressively work to reduce the number of home fires in this country in order to save lives from fire,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications.

During the period of 2003-2007, U.S. fire departments responded to approximately 380,000 home fires a year. These fires not only caused a large number of civilian deaths, they also caused an average of 13,160 reported civilian fire injuries and $6.4 billion in direct property damage.

From 2003-2007, smoking materials caused the largest number of fire deaths. Heating equipment was the second leading cause of home fires and home fire deaths.

The leading cause of home structure fires, civilian fire injuries, and unreported fires continues to be cooking equipment. Forty-one percent of home fires started in the kitchen area and caused 15 percent of the home fire deaths and 36 percent of the reported fire injuries.

Other key findings include:

  • Reported home fires peaked around dinner hours of 5 to 8 p.m.
  • Only 20 percent of the reported home fires occurred between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., however 52 percent of home fire deaths resulted from fires reported during these hours.
  • Thirty percent of reported home structure fires and 38 percent of home fire deaths occurred in the quarter including December, January, and February.
  • Reported apartment fires were more likely to start in the kitchen than fires in one- and two-family homes.
  • The two leading items first ignited in home fire deaths are upholstered furniture in 21 percent of home fire deaths, followed by mattress and bedding in 13 percent of the deaths.

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