QUINCY, Mass. — U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 373,900 home fires from 2005-2009 according to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) new study, “Home Structure Fires.” The fires caused an estimated 2,650 civilian deaths each year.
Cooking fires remain the leading cause of home fires, according to research. During the five-year period covered by the report, roughly one in every 310 households per year had a reported home fire. The fires also caused a large number of civilian deaths and an average of 12,890 civilian injuries. As it stands, and smoking materials continue to be the leading cause of home fire deaths. Additionally, the fires produced $7.1 billion in direct property damage.
A quarter of the home fire deaths resulted from fires that originated in the bedroom, while 24 percent of deaths stemmed from fires in the family room, living room or den. Roughly, 15 percent of deaths resulted from fires started in the kitchen. Although only 20 percent of reported fires occurred between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., fires reported during this time caused half of the deaths, according to the report.
Other key findings include:
- 38 percent of home deaths resulted from fires in which no smoke alarm was present at all
- 24 percent of home deaths resulted from fires in which smoke alarms were present, but did not operate
- Homes with wet pipe sprinkler systems reduced chances of dying in a fire by 83 percent
“These statistics are a sad reminder that fire is still a deadly threat and we must do more to prevent the needless deaths and losses,” NFPA Vice President of Communications Lorraine Carli says. “Properly installed and maintained fire protection devices, such as smoke alarms and residential fire sprinklers, can help to prevent most fire deaths.”