Great strides have been made in constructing fire-resistant buildings and improving fire-suppression techniques, both of which have reduced the incidence of fire. However, in terms of property losses, these advances have been somewhat offset by increases in the number of and value of buildings. In 2015, on average, a fire department responded to a fire every 23 seconds in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association. A structure fire occurred every 63 seconds, a residential structure fire occurred every 86 seconds and an outside property fire occurred every 52 seconds.
HOLIDAY FIRE LOSSES
Almost half of all reported fires on July 4th were started by fireworks between 2009 and 2013, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In 2013 fireworks caused an estimated 15,600 reported fires, including 1,400 total structure fires, 200 vehicle fires, and 14,000 outside and other fires. Other NFPA key statistics include:
- In 2013 fireworks fires resulted in an estimated 30 civilian injuries and $21 million in direct property damage.
- In 2014 U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 10,500 people for fireworks related injuries; 51 percent of those injuries were to the extremities, and 38 percent were to the head, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- The risk of fireworks injury is highest for children ages 5 to 9 followed by children ages 15 to 19.
- The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says Thanksgiving Day is the leading day for home cooking fires, with three times as many occurring on Thanksgiving as any other day of the year. In 2013, there were 1,550 fires on Thanksgiving, a 230 percent increase over the daily average.
- U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 210 home structure fires that began with Christmas trees from 2009 to 2013, according to a fact sheet from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
- Home Christmas tree fires caused an average of seven civilian deaths, 19 civilian injuries and $17.5 million in direct property damage annually from 2009 to 2013.
- Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in 38 percent of the home Christmas tree structure fires. About one-quarter (24 percent) occurred because some type of heat source was too close to the tree. Decorative lights were involved in 18 percent of these incidents. Eight percent of home Christmas tree fires were started by candles.
- The top three days for home candle fires were Christmas, New Years Day and Christmas Eve, according to another NFPA fact sheet.
- During the five-year-period of 2009-2013, the NFPA estimates that decorations were the item first ignited in an estimated average of 860 reported home structure fires per year. These fires caused an estimated average of one civilian death, 41 civilian injuries and $13.4 million in direct property damage per year, according to an NFPA fact sheet.
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