Report: 7 People Die Each Day in Home Fires

QUINCY, Mass. U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 366,600 home fires from 2007-2011, according to a new report by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The fires, which produced $7.2 billion in direct property damage, caused an average of 13,120 civilian deaths each year — roughly seven people each day.

While cooking equipment continues to be the leading cause of structure fires and home fire injuries, smoking materials persist as the leading cause of home fire deaths, according to the report. As many as 60% of home fire deaths resulted in residences that did not have a smoke alarm or, if one was present, it did not operate. 

“Three out of five home fire deaths occurred in homes without working smoke alarms, which emphasizes the importance of taking personal responsibility when it comes to protecting yourself and your family from fire,” says Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications for NFPA. “Installing and maintaining these alarms could save a majority of the lives lost in home fires, especially if they work in conjunction with home sprinklers.”

Other key findings include:

  • Half of home fire deaths were caused by incidents reported between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
  • Older adults were the age group most likely to die in a home fire
  • 25% of the home fire deaths resulted from fires that originated in the bedroom
  • 24% of fires occurred in the family room, living room or den
  • 16% of home fires started in the kitchen

The report is based on data from the U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and the NFPA’s annual fire department experience survey.

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