USFA Releases Residential Structure, Building Fires Report

Developed by the National Fire Data Center, the U.S. Fire Administration has issued a report titled Residential Structure and Building Fires that examines the causes and characteristics of fires occurring in residential structures and buildings.

"Most fires and related deaths and injuries in residences are preventable," said Greg Cade, U.S. fire administrator. "It is important that you take the necessary precautions to ensure your home is fire safe. Install and maintain smoke alarms and sprinklers, and establish and practice your escape plan. By being prepared, you can help reduce the chances of fire injury or even death."

The report presents an overview of residential structure fires and trends for one- and two-family, multifamily, and other residential structures, and addresses residential building fires for each of the three residential occupancy types. USFA says the report is based primarily on 2005 NFIRS data and the 2005 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) survey data. In 2005, there were an estimated 396,000 residential structure fires, resulting in 3,055 civilian fire deaths, 13,825 civilian injuries, and $6.9 billion in loss.

According to the report, fires in residential buildings--a subset of residential structures--accounted for 95 percent of residential structure fires and fatal fires, 97 percent of residential structure fires with injuries, and 95 percent of fires with dollar loss. Additionaly, there were an estimated 376,500 residential building fires in 2005. These fires claimed the lives of 2,895 civilians and injured an additional 13,375 civilians.

Cooking (41 percent) and heating (13 percent) are the leading causes of residential building fires. Cooking also accounts for approximately 25 percent of fires that injure civilians. Smoking (20 percent) is the leading cause of fatal residential building fires.

To download the report, click here.

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