Smoke alarms have been a “huge success story” and cooking remains the leading cause of fires and injuries in homes, according to a new report examining fire trends over the past 40 years.
As indicated by the National Fire Protection Association, the last major reports of fire statistics across the country were in 1973 and 1980. Therefore, the NFPA commissioned the Fire Protection Research Foundation to produce a new report examining fire protection trends since 1980.
The 63-page report can be downloaded from the website www.go.nfpa.org.
“A better understanding of what has impacted fire safety can help identify what needs to be done to further reduce death and destruction,” said NFPA President and CEO Jim Pauley.
“Every year in the United States, one of the most advanced countries in the world, we have nearly 3,000 deaths from house fires, and the problem is much worse in countries that do not yet have a fully developed fire and life safety ecosystem. As a global agency dedicated to eliminating damage from fire, electrical, and other hazards, the NFPA will continue to advocate the protection of people and property as we have done for 125 years. But we cannot do the work alone. We need all the elements of the ecosystem that work to connect the dots in terms of security. “
The report says that fire safety in hospitals, nursing homes, schools and hotels has increased noticeably and that there are fewer house fires today than 40 years ago. However, the report also states that a house fire is more likely to die in the fire than it was 40 years ago.
A house fire breaks out somewhere in the country every 24 seconds, and a civilian is killed in a fire every three hours and 10 minutes, officials said.
The report found that the most successful part of fire safety over the past 40 years has been implementing mandatory regulations and standards for fire safety and equipment in the homes. Government responsibility, safety regulations and an informed public have an “obvious” impact on fire safety, the report said.
Smoke alarms have been a success, boiling fires remain the leading cause of house fires and injuries, and cigarette smoking has been the leading cause of house fire deaths over the past four decades, according to the report.
The report also found that the number of fire deaths of children under the age of five has decreased dramatically and little has changed in deaths of older adults. The report found that forest fires are becoming the predominant type of fire, causing multiple deaths and large losses.