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.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Safety Management Software - Free Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Software’s comprehensive suite of modules help organizations to record and manage incidents, inspections, hazards, behavior based safety observations, and much more. Improve safety with an easy to use tool for tracking, notifying and reporting on key safety data.

  • Create Flexible Safety Dashboards

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations allows you to easily create and view safety KPIs to help you make informed business decisions. Our best of breed default indicators can also save you valuable time and effort in monitoring safety metrics.

  • Schedule and Record Observations

    IndustrySafe's Observations module allows managers, supervisors, and employees to conduct observations on employees involved in safety critical behavior. IndustrySafe’s pre-built BBS checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Why Is Near Miss Reporting Important?

    A near miss is an accident that's waiting to happen. Learn how to investigate these close calls and prevent more serious incidents from occurring in the future.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to Safety Training

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common FAQs.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - May 2019

    May 2019

    Featuring:

    • RESPIRATORY PROTECTION
      Why Pick a PAPR? 
    • FIRE SAFETY TRAINING
      Fire Safety: Plan, Prevent, Train, Recover
    • PROTECTIVE APPAREL
      The Truth About Heat Stress and FRC
    • AIHCE EXP 2019 PREVIEW
      Underestimated No More
    View This Issue