a firefighters hat

Fires in Vacant Buildings Increasing, NFPA Warns

The recession is a great concern for many Americans, although a new report suggests it may be worrying firefighters for a particular reason: Vacant home fires and the total number of vacant housing units in this country are both rising fast, the National Fire Protection Association says.

NFPA's April 2009 "Vacant Building Fires" report says U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 31,000 structure fires in vacant buildings in 2003-2006. Those fires caused an average of 50 civilian deaths, 141 civilian deaths, 4,500 firefighter injuries (13 percent of all firefighter injuries that occurred in structure fires), and $642 million in direct property damage per year.

"With the downturn in the economy, the numbers of vacant buildings and vacant building fires have been climbing," said Marty Ahrens, who wrote the report. "Often these fires have time to grow before they are discovered and reported. These larger fires can threaten other properties nearby. Because children and youth may use these buildings for hangouts or risky activities, and the homeless may use them as shelter, firefighters cannot be sure that no one is inside."

The report says total vacant building fires rose 2 percent, from 31,900 in 2005 to 32,700 in 2006, and 63 percent of them occurred in homes. NFPA said Census Bureau data indicate vacant housing units hit three consecutive 40-year peaks in 2006, 2007, and 2008. While vacant home fires rose 11 percent, from 18,900 in 2005 to 21,000 in 2006, total home fires rose only 4 percent during that period. Forty-three percent of vacant building fires were intentionally set.

Product Showcase

  • Magid® D-ROC® GPD412 21G Ultra-Thin Polyurethane Palm Coated Work Gloves

    Magid’s 21G line is more than just a 21-gauge glove, it’s a revolutionary knitting technology paired with an advanced selection of innovative fibers to create the ultimate in lightweight cut protection. The latest offering in our 21G line provides ANSI A4 cut resistance with unparalleled dexterity and extreme comfort that no other 21-gauge glove on the market can offer! Read More

  • Kestrel 5400 Heat Stress Tracker WBGT Monitoring for Workplace Safety

    Ensure safety with the Kestrel® 5400 Heat Stress Tracker, the go-to choice for safety professionals and endorsed by the Heat Safety & Performance Coalition. This robust, waterless WBGT meter is ideal for both indoor and outdoor environments, offering advanced monitoring and data logging essential for OSHA compliance. It features pre-programmed ACGIH guidelines and alert settings to quickly signal critical conditions. Integrated with the cloud-based Ambient Weather Network, the 5400 allows managers to view, track, and log job site conditions remotely, ensuring constant awareness of potential hazards. Its capability for real-time mobile alerts and remote data access promotes proactive safety management and workplace protection, solidifying its role as a crucial tool in industrial hygiene. Read More

  • Matrix's OmniPro Vision AI Collision Avoidance System

    OmniPro Vision AI is a state-of-the-art collision avoidance system that features NIOSH award-winning Visual Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. This highly accurate, powerful system identifies and alerts on pedestrians, vehicles and specified objects, ensuring safer facilities, mining operations and industrial sites. With its web-based cloud application, OmniPro Vision AI also logs and analyzes a wide range of data related to zone breach notifications. Operating without needing personal wearable devices or tags, OmniPro has visual and audible zone breach alerts for both operators and pedestrians. Read More

Featured

Webinars