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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.

Firefighter fatalities in the United States in 2013 (November 2014)

January 13, 2015 Comments off

Firefighter fatalities in the United States in 2013 (PDF)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

  • Activities related to emergency incidents resulted in the deaths of 77 firefighters.
  • Fifty-five firefighters died while engaging in activities at the scene of a fire.
  • Fourteen firefighters died while responding to or returning from 14 emergency incidents.
  • Nine firefighters died as the result of vehicle crashes.
  • Heart attacks were the most frequent cause of death with 36 firefighter deaths.
  • Seven firefighters died while they were engaged in training activities.

Residential Building Fires (2010–2012)

December 19, 2014 Comments off

Residential Building Fires (2010–2012) (PDF)
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. In addition, residential building fires accounted for over half (57 percent) of the total dollar loss from all fires.

Report findings:

  • An estimated 366,900 residential building fires were reported to fire departments within the United States each year and caused an estimated 2,465 deaths, 13,400 injuries and $7 billion in property loss.
  • Cooking, at 47 percent, was the leading reported cause of residential building fires.
  • Residential building fire incidence was higher in the cooler months, peaking in January at 11 percent.
  • Residential building fires occurred most frequently in the early evening hours, peaking during the dinner hours from 5 to 8 p.m.
  • The leading reported factor contributing to ignition category was misuse of material or product (38 percent).

The Federal Emergency Management Agency: Floods, Failures, and Federalism

December 8, 2014 Comments off

The Federal Emergency Management Agency: Floods, Failures, and Federalism
Source: Cato Institute

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is the lead federal agency for disaster preparedness, response, and relief. FEMA’s budget fluctuates from year to year, but spending has trended sharply upwards in recent decades. The agency spent $22 billion in fiscal 2013 and $10 billion in fiscal 2014. The main activity of FEMA is distributing aid to individuals and state and local governments after natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes. In addition, the agency provides ongoing grants to the states for disaster preparedness, and it operates the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

FEMA’s response to some major disasters has been slow, disorganized, and profligate. The agency’s actions have sometimes been harmful, such as when it has blocked the relief efforts of other organizations. FEMA’s dismal response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 dramatized the agency’s bureaucratic dysfunction. FEMA’s grants for disaster preparedness are known for wastefulness. As for the NFIP, its insurance subsidies are spurring development in flood-prone areas, which in turn is increasing the damage caused by floods. The NFIP also encourages an expansion of federal regulatory control over local land-use planning.

Federalism is supposed to undergird America’s system of handling disasters, particularly natural disasters. State, local, and private organizations should play the dominant role. Looking at American history, many disasters have generated large outpourings of aid by individuals, businesses, and charitable groups.

Today, however, growing federal intervention is undermining the role of private institutions and the states in handling disasters. Policymakers should reverse course and begin cutting FEMA. Ultimately, the agency should be closed down by ending aid programs for disaster preparedness and relief and privatizing flood insurance.

DHS OIG — FEMA’s Logistics Supply Chain Management System May Not Be Effective During a Catastrophic Disaster

October 27, 2014 Comments off

FEMA’s Logistics Supply Chain Management System May Not Be Effective During a Catastrophic Disaster (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General

We audited the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Logistics Supply Chain Management System program. According to FEMA, the Logistics Supply Chain Management System replaced its earlier logistics operations systems to automate and track distribution better and deliver emergency supplies more dependably. FEMA also intended for the system to help track supplies provided by partners in other Federal agencies; nongovernmental organizations; state, local, and tribal governments; and the private sector. Our audit objective was to determine whether FEMA’s Logistics Supply Chain Management System is able to support Federal logistics operations effectively in the event of a catastrophic disaster.

After spending about $247 million over 9 years, FEMA cannot be certain that its supply chain management system will be effective during a catastrophic disaster. FEMA estimated that the life cycle cost of the system would be about $556 million—$231 million more than the original life cycle cost estimate. According to FEMA, the Logistics Supply Chain Management System became fully operational in January 2013, which was about 19 months behind schedule. However, the system could not perform as originally planned. Specifically, it cannot interface with the logistics management systems of FEMA’s partners, nor does FEMA have realͲtime visibility over all supplies shipped by its partners. As of March 2014, the Logistics Supply Chain Management System still had not achieved full operational capability. We attribute these deficiencies to inadequate program management and oversight by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and FEMA. As a result, FEMA may not be able to efficiently and effectively aid survivors of catastrophic disaster.

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