NFPA: Number of Fires Down, But Deaths Up in 2010

These fires caused an estimated 3,120 civilian fire deaths, a four percent increase from a year ago, and an estimated 17,720 civilian fire injuries, also a four percent increase from the previous year.

Public fire departments responded to 1,331,500 fires in the United States during 2010, a slight decrease from the previous year and the lowest number since 1977, according to a new report issued by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

These fires caused an estimated 3,120 civilian fire deaths, a four percent increase from a year ago; an estimated 17,720 civilian fire injuries, also a four percent increase from the previous year; and more than $11.5 billion in property damage, a significant decrease from the year before.

“Fire Loss in the U.S.” analyzes 2010 figures for fires, civilian fire deaths, injuries, property damage, and intentionally set fires. Estimates are based on data collected from fire departments that responded to NFPA’s Annual National Fire Experience Survey.

There were an estimated 482,000 structure fires reported to fire departments in 2010, a very slight increase from a year ago. The number of structure fires was at its peak in 1977, the first year that NFPA implemented its current survey methodology, when 1,098,000 structure fires occurred.

“We have made tremendous progress in reducing the fire problem in the United States since we began looking at these numbers in the late 70s,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications for NFPA. “But this report shows us that more must be done to bring the numbers down even further. We continue to see the vast majority of deaths occurring in homes, a place where people often feel safest. These survey results will be combined with data from the U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA’s) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) to determine how often specific fire circumstances occur and where we can most effectively focus our efforts.”

Other key findings from the report include:

  • A fire department responded to a fire every 24 seconds.
  • 384,000 fires or 80 percent of all structure fires occurred in residential properties.
  • About 85 percent of all fire deaths occurred in the home.
  • 215,500 vehicle fires occurred in the U.S. during 2010, causing 310 civilian fire deaths, 1,590 civilian fire injuries, and $1.4 billion in property damage.
  • 634,000 outside and other fires occurred in the U.S. during 2010 causing $501 million in property damage.

Download the full report “Fire Loss in the United States during 2010”.

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