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New topical fire report: Fire Risk in 2011

April 27, 2015 Comments off

New topical fire report: Fire Risk in 2011 (PDF)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

The risk from fire is not the same for everyone. In 2011, 3,415 deaths and 17,500 injuries in the U.S. were caused by fires. These casualties were not equally distributed across the U.S. population and the resulting risk of death or injury from fire was more severe for some groups. This topical fire report explores why different segments of society are at a greater risk from fire.

CRS — Wildfire Management: Federal Funding and Related Statistics (February 4, 2015)

April 22, 2015 Comments off

Wildfire Management: Federal Funding and Related Statistics (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)

Wildfires can have beneficial and harmful impacts on ecosystems (e.g., by reducing fuel loads, or by damaging communities and timber resources). These impacts are generally measured and discussed based on the priorities of humans in these ecosystems. Federal resources are typically deployed during wildfire season—an annual occurrence of intense wildfire activity typically running from summer into fall—to help manage wildfires and potentially minimize some of the impacts, including the loss of life and property. Approximately 3.6 million acres burned during the 2014 wildfire season, which was less than the 4.3 million acres burned in 2014 and the fewest acres burned since 2010. Acreage burned during the 2014 wildfire season was less than half of the 9.3 million acres burned in 2012, which was the third-largest acreage burned annually since 1960.

Federal funding for wildfire management is provided in the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. The bill funds wildfire management at the Forest Service and the Department of the Interior, which are the two principal entities tasked with federal wildfire management. Federal wildfire response activities involve preparedness, suppression, fuel reduction, site rehabilitation, and more. More than $3.4 billion was appropriated for wildfire management in FY2015. The total wildfire management appropriations for 2014 were more than $3.9 billion and included $600 million for the Forest Service to reimburse wildfire transfers that occurred in FY2013.

Fire and Emergency Services — National Safety Culture Change Initiative

April 10, 2015 Comments off

National Safety Culture Change Initiative (PDF)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

The “National Safety Culture Change Initiative” report:

  • Provides a basic understanding of the fire and emergency service culture.
  • Identifies individual and organizational behaviors that positively and negatively impact health and safety.
  • Highlights focus areas for change by raising awareness about unsafe practices.

One- and Two-Family, Multifamily Residential Building Fires (2010-2012)

March 7, 2015 Comments off

One- and Two-Family, Multifamily Residential Building Fires (2010-2012)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

One- and Two-Family Residential Building Fires (PDF)

  • An estimated 239,100 one- and two-family residential building fires were reported to fire departments within the United States each year and caused an estimated 1,950 deaths, 8,575 injuries, and 5.4 billion dollars in property loss.
  • One- and two-family residential building fires accounted for 65 percent of all residential building fires.
  • Cooking, at 34 percent, was the leading reported cause of one- and two-family residential building fires reported to the fire service. Nearly all one- and two-family residential building cooking fires were small, confined fires (89 percent).
  • In 52 percent of nonconfined one- and two-family residential building fires, the fire extended beyond the room of fire origin. The leading reported causes of these larger fires were other unintentional, careless actions (16 percent); electrical malfunctions (15 percent); and intentional actions (12 percent).
  • Smoke alarms were not present in 23 percent of nonconfined fires in occupied one- and two-family residential buildings. This is a high percentage when compared to the 3 percent of households nationally lacking smoke alarms.

Multifamily Residential Building Fires (PDF)

  • An estimated 103,800 multifamily residential building fires were reported to fire departments within the United States each year and caused an estimated 405 deaths, 4,350 injuries, and 1.2 billion dollars in property loss.
  • Multifamily residential building fires accounted for 28 percent of all residential building fires.
  • Small, confined fires accounted for 70 percent of multifamily residential building fires.
  • Cooking was the leading reported cause of multifamily residential building fires (71 percent); nearly all multifamily residential building cooking fires were small, confined fires (95 percent).
  • In 31 percent of nonconfined multifamily residential building fires, the fire extended beyond the room of origin. The leading reported causes of these larger fires were exposures (12 percent); intentional actions (11 percent); other unintentional, careless actions (11 percent); and electrical malfunctions (11 percent). In contrast, 51 percent of all other nonconfined residential building (excluding multifamily building) fires extended beyond the room of origin.

Residential building fire fatalities and fire injuries (2010–2012)

March 2, 2015 Comments off

Residential building fire fatalities and fire injuries (2010–2012)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

Residential fires are of great national importance, as they account for the vast majority of civilian casualties. National estimates for 2010-2012 show that 82 percent of all fire deaths and 78 percent of all fire injuries occurred in residential buildings.

+ Civilian Fire Fatalities in Residential Buildings (2010-2012) (PDF)
+ Civilian Fire Injuries in Residential Buildings (PDF)

Fire-Related Firefighter Injuries (2010-2012)

February 27, 2015 Comments off

Fire-Related Firefighter Injuries (2010-2012) (PDF)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

Report findings

  • An estimated 70,450 firefighter injuries occurred annually. Of these injuries, 31,550 occurred on the fireground, and 4,150 occurred while responding to or returning from an incident.
  • The majority of fire-related firefighter injuries (87 percent) occurred in structure fires. In addition, on average, structure fires had more injuries per fire than nonstructure fires.
  • Injuries resulted in lost work time for 42 percent of firefighters with reported fire-related injuries.
  • Fires resulting in firefighter injuries were more prevalent in July at 12 percent and peaked between the hours of 1 and 4 p.m.
  • Overexertion/Strain was the cause of 27 percent of reported fire-related firefighter injuries.

Heating fires in residential buildings (2010–2012)

February 20, 2015 Comments off

Heating fires in residential buildings (2010–2012) (PDF)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, heating was the leading reported cause of residential building fires. Since then, the overall number of heating fires has substantially decreased, but heating remained the second reported leading cause from 2010-2012 and accounted for 12 percent of all home fires responded to by fire departments.

Report findings

  • An estimated 45,200 heating fires in residential buildings were reported to fire departments within the United States each year and caused an estimated 155 deaths, 625 injuries and $351 million in property loss.
  • Residential building heating fires peaked in the early evening hours from 5 to 9 p.m., with the highest peak from 6 to 8 p.m. This four-hour period accounted for 30 percent of all residential building heating fires.
  • Residential building heating fire incidence peaked in January at 21 percent and declined to the lowest point during the months of June to August. Confined fuel burner/boiler malfunction fires accounted for 56 percent of the heating fires that occurred during these three warmer months.
  • Confined fires, those fires confined to chimneys, flues or fuel burners, accounted for 84 percent of residential building heating fires.
  • The heat source was too close to combustibles in 29 percent of the nonconfined residential building heating fires.
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