Fire Safety Facts

U.S. Fire Facts 
Facts provided by the U.S. Fire Administration.

The Overall Picture
Fire facts:
  • The U.S. has one of the highest fire death rates, per capita, in the industrialized world.
  • Approximately 5,700 people die in fires in this country annually, and another 29,000 civilians are injured.
  • Approximately 100 firefighters die each year in duty-related incidents.
  • Each year, fire usually kills more Americans than all natural disasters combined, including floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.
  • Fire is the third leading cause of accidental death in the home; at least 70% of all fire deaths occur in residences.
  • More than 2 million fires are reported each year; many others go unreported, causing additional injuries and property loss.
  • Direct property loss due to fires is estimated at $8.5 billion annually.

Who is Most at Risk
Risk facts:
  • Senior citizens are at the highest risk of being killed in a fire - more than double the average population.
  • The southeastern U.S. has the highest fire death rate per capita.
  • Nearly 80% of all fatalities occur in the home. Of those, approximately 67% occur in single-family homes and duplexes.
  • At least 785 fire deaths occur in apartments each year.
  • About 80 people die in hotel / motel fires annually, with careless smoking as the leading cause of these deaths.
  • People under the age of 19 account for 25% of the annual fire deaths.
  • Children under age 5 are at serious risk of being killed in a fire - nearly double the average population.
  • About 25% of the fires that kill young children are started by children playing with fire.
  • Fire deaths and injuries for men are nearly double those for women.
  • Careless smoking is the leading cause of residential fire deaths. Smoke detectors and smolder-resistant bedding and upholstered furniture are significant fire deterrents.
  • Arson is the second leading cause of residential fires and residential fire deaths; in commercial properties, arson is the major cause of deaths, injuries, and dollar loss.
  • Heating is the third leading cause of residential fire deaths. Heater fires are the leading cause of fire deaths in the southeastern U.S.; wood stoves are a serious problem in the northern U.S.
  • Cooking is the leading cause of apartment fires and the second most frequent cause of single-family residential fires. These fires often result from unattended cooking and human error, rather than mechanical failures of stoves or ovens.

What Saves Lives
Fire prevention facts:
  • A working smoke detector doubles a person's chance of surviving a fire.
  • Approximately 90% of U.S. homes have at least one smoke detector.
  • Nearly half the residential fires and three fifths of the residential fatalities occur in homes with no smoke detectors.
  • Residential sprinklers have become more cost-effective and can usually be installed for $.75 to $1.50 per square foot.

Areas of Origin
Top five places fires start:
  • Kitchen - 29%
  • Bedroom - 13%
  • Living Room / Den - 8%
  • Chimney - 8%
  • Laundry Area - 4%