Although the number of fatalities and injuries caused by residential fires has declined gradually over the past several decades, many residential fire-related deaths remain preventable and continue to pose a significant public health problem. Below is a list of facts for fire related deaths and injuries:
- Deaths from fires and burns are the fifth most common cause of unintentional injury deaths in the United States (CDC 2005) and the third leading cause of fatal home injury (Runyan 2004).
- The United State’s mortality rate from fires ranks sixth among the 25 developed countries for which statistics are available (International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics 2003).
- On average in the United States in 2005, someone died in a fire about every 2 hours (143 minutes), and someone was injured every 29 minutes (Karter 2006).
- Four out of five U.S. fire deaths in 2005 occurred in homes (Karter 2006).
- In 2005, fire departments responded to 386,000 home fires in the United States, which claimed the lives of 3,030 people (not including firefighters) and injured another 13,825, not including firefighters (Karter 2006).
- Most victims of fires die from smoke or toxic gases and not from burns (Hall 2001).
- Smoking is the leading cause of fire-related deaths (Ahrens 2003).
- Cooking is the primary cause of residential fires (Ahrens 2003).