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New: Residential Building Electrical Fires (2009-2011)

April 15, 2014 Comments off

New: Residential Building Electrical Fires (2009-2011) (PDF)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

Findings from this report:

  • An estimated 25,900 residential building electrical fires were reported to fire departments within the United States each year. These fires caused an estimated 280 deaths, 1,125 injuries and $1.1 billion in property loss.
  • Residential building electrical fires resulted in greater dollar loss per fire than residential building nonelectrical fires.
  • In 79 percent of residential building electrical fires, the fire spread beyond the object where the fire started.
  • The leading items most often first ignited in residential building electrical fires were electrical wire/cable insulation (30 percent) and structural member or framing (19 percent).
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State Fire Death Rates and Relative Risk

April 9, 2014 Comments off

State Fire Death Rates and Relative Risk
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

The fire problem varies from region to region in the United States. This often is a result of climate, poverty, education, demographics, and other causal factors. Perhaps the most useful way to assess fire fatalities across groups is to determine the relative risk of dying in a fire. Relative risk compares the per capita rate for a particular group (e.g., Pennsylvania) to the overall per capita rate (i.e., the general population). The result is a measure of how likely a group is to be affected. For the general population, the relative risk is set at 1.

In addition to the District of Columbia, the states with the highest relative risk in 2010 included West Virginia, Alabama and Mississippi. The populace of West Virginia was 3.3 times more likely to die in a fire than the general population; however, people living in Oregon, Massachusetts and Arizona were 50 percent less likely to die in a fire than the population as a whole. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia had a relative risk higher than that of the general population. Three states, Iowa, Washington and New Mexico, had a relative risk comparable to that of the general population.

Relative risk was not computed for HI, ME, ND, VT and WY due to small numbers of fire deaths which are subject to variability.

Residential Building Garage Fires (2009-2011)

April 2, 2014 Comments off

Residential Building Garage Fires (2009-2011) (PDF)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

An estimated 6,600 residential building garage fires were reported to United States fire departments each year and caused an estimated 30 deaths, 400 injuries and $457 million in property loss.

Findings from this report:

  • Residential building garage fires are considered part of the residential fire problem and comprised about 2 percent of all residential building fires.
  • Fires originating in residential building garages tend to be larger and spread farther than fires that start in other areas of a residence.
  • Of residential building garage fires, 93 percent occurred in one- and two-family residential buildings.
  • The leading causes of residential building garage fires were “electrical malfunction” (16 percent); “other unintentional, careless” action (15 percent); and “open flame” (11 percent).
  • Residential building garage fires occurred most often in the colder months of January and December (at 10 percent each). Additionally, residential building garage fires also peaked in July at 10 percent.
  • Electrical arcing was the most common heat source in residential building garage fires (17 percent).

CRS — United States Fire Administration: An Overview

March 11, 2014 Comments off

United States Fire Administration: An Overview (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via University of North Texas Digital Library)

The United States Fire Administration (USFA)—which includes the National Fire Academy (NFA)—is currently housed within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The objective of the USFA is to significantly reduce the nation’s loss of life from fire, while also achieving a reduction in property loss and non-fatal injury due to fire.

The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 (P.L. 113-6) funded USFA at $43.942 million. Additionally, the United States Fire Administration and Training budget account was subject to a 5.0% sequestration cut, putting the FY2013 level for USFA at $41.726 million.

The FY2014 budget proposal requested $41.306 million for USFA. Of the requested total appropriation, $12.267 million would be allocated to the National Fire Academy, $11.205 million to National Fire Programs, and $17.834 million to National Emergency Training Center (NETC) Management, Operations and Support. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (P.L. 113-76), signed into law on January 17, 2014, funds USFA at $44 million.

U.S. Fire Administration — Emergency Vehicle Safety Initiative

March 10, 2014 Comments off

Emergency Vehicle Safety Initiative (PDF)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

Since the release of our publication “Emergency Vehicle Safety Initiative (2004),” we have worked with many fire service organizations and the law enforcement community to increase emergency responder safety in this area. Our latest study report, “Emergency Vehicle Safety Initiative (2014),” consolidates the results of this work and provides best practices and recommendations for safer emergency vehicle and roadway incident response.

Topics covered include:

  • Common crash causes and crash prevention.
  • The impact of vehicle design and maintenance on safety.
  • Internal and external factors for improving response-related safety.
  • Regulating emergency vehicle response and roadway scene safety.
  • Roadway incident scene safety.

Annual report on firefighter fatalities in the United States

October 2, 2013 Comments off

Annual report on firefighter fatalities in the United States
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

Eighty-one firefighters died while on duty in 2012.

  • The total break down included 42 volunteer, 28 career, and 11 wildland agency firefighters.
  • There were 4 multiple firefighter fatality incidents claiming a total of 10 firefighters.
  • Fifteen firefighters died in duties associated with wildland fires.
  • Activities related to emergency incidents resulted in the deaths of 45 firefighters.
  • Twenty-two firefighters died while engaging in activities at the scene of a fire.
  • Seventeen firefighters died while responding to or returning from 16 emergency incidents.
  • Eighteen firefighters died as the result of 14 vehicle crashes, six involving POVs, six involving apparatus, and six from two separate incidents involving aircraft.
  • Heart attacks were the most frequent cause of death with 39 firefighter deaths.
  • Eight firefighters died while they were engaged in training activities.
  • Twelve firefighters died after the conclusion of their on-duty activity.

Fire Service Operations and Tactics During Disasters and Emergencies

October 2, 2013 Comments off

Fire Service Operations and Tactics During Disasters and Emergencies
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

This guide is a fire and emergency medical services (EMS) resource that can be used to support planning and preparation for active shooter and mass casualty incidents. These complex and demanding incidents may be well beyond the traditional training and experience of the majority of firefighters and emergency medical technicians. The U.S. Fire Administration offers this guide as one source of many available for the public safety community, but it takes into consideration the diverse local service levels available across America. In developing the guide, we consulted with individuals and groups engaged in fire and pre-hospital emergency medical services, law enforcement, and hospital medical and trauma care. We also consulted with public safety organizations and numerous federal agencies.

New: Nonresidential Building Fires (2009-2011)

July 11, 2013 Comments off

New: Nonresidential Building Fires (2009-2011)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

Findings from this report:

  • An estimated 86,500 nonresidential building fires were reported to United States fire departments each year and caused an estimated 85 deaths, 1,325 injuries, and $2.6 billion in property losses per year.
  • Cooking was the leading cause of all nonresidential building fires (29 percent). Nearly all nonresidential building cooking fires were small, confined fires (97 percent).
  • Outside and special properties accounted for the most nonresidential building fires (21 percent), while storage buildings accounted for the most nonresidential building fire deaths (29 percent).
  • Nonresidential building fires occurred most frequently from 3 to 6 p.m.
  • Nonconfined nonresidential building fires most often started in vehicle storage areas (9 percent).
  • Fifty-six percent of nonconfined nonresidential building fires extended beyond the room of origin. The leading causes of these larger fires were unintentional or careless actions (19 percent), intentional actions (13 percent), and electrical malfunctions (12 percent).
  • Misuse of material or product (32 percent) was the leading factors contributing to ignition category in nonconfined nonresidential building fires.
  • Smoke alarms were not present in 52 percent of the larger, nonconfined fires in occupied nonresidential buildings.

US Fire Administration Releases Report on Heating Fires in Residential Buildings

October 4, 2012 Comments off

US Fire Administration Releases Report on Heating Fires in Residential Buildings

Source: U.S. Fire Administration

Fall begins this Saturday, and with it comes cooler temperatures and the resulting seasonal increase in the number of home heating fires. To help Americans understand the nature of the heating fire problem, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) today issued a special report: Heating Fires in Residential Buildings (2008-2010). Developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center, the report is based on data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).

According to the report:

  • An estimated average of 50,100 heating fires in residential buildings occurred in the United States each year and resulted in an annual average of approximately 150 deaths, 575 injuries, and $326 million in property loss.
  • Heating was the second leading cause of all residential building fires following cooking.
  • Residential building heating fires peaked in the early evening hours between 5 and 9 p.m. with the highest peak between 6 and 8 p.m. This 4-hour period accounted for 30 percent of all residential building heating fires.
  • Residential building heating fires peaked in January (21 percent) and declined to the lowest point during the summer months from June to August.
  • Confined fires, those fires confined to chimneys, flues, or fuel burners, accounted for 87 percent of residential building heating fires.
  • Thirty percent of the nonconfined residential building heating fires occurred because the heat source was too close to combustibles.

US Fire Administration Releases Report on Portable Heater Fires in Residential Buildings

October 4, 2012 Comments off

US Fire Administration Releases Report on Portable Heater Fires in Residential Buildings

Source: U.S. Fire Administration

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) announces the release of a special report examining the characteristics of portable heater fires in residential buildings. The report, Portable Heater Fires in Residential Buildings (2008-2010), was developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center and is based on 2008 to 2010 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).

According to the report:

  • An estimated 900 portable heater fires in residential buildings are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated 70 deaths, 150 injuries and $53 million in property loss.
  • Only 2 percent of heating fires in residential buildings involved portable heaters, however, portable heaters were involved in 45 percent of all fatal heating fires in residential buildings.
  • Portable heater fires in residential buildings peaked in January (26 percent).
  • 52 percent of portable heater fires in residential buildings occurred because the heat source was too close to combustibles.
  • 38 percent of portable heater fires in residential buildings originated in bedrooms. In these fires, bedding, such as blankets, sheets and comforters, was the leading item first ignited by portable heaters at 25 percent.

Fire Service Operations for the Southeastern Tornados – April 2011

July 25, 2012 Comments off

Fire Service Operations for the Southeastern Tornados – April 2011 (PDF)

Source:  U.S. Fire Administration
The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) has completed a review of fire service operations surrounding the challenges faced in April 2011 as fire departments in the southeastern United States responded to a significant weather event.
On April 27, 2011, a devastating series of tornados struck Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. The dollar loss has been roughly tallied at $6 billion in insured losses and a total of over $10 billion for all losses. An estimated 336 lives were lost in the region’s tornados and related events, with 239 of those in Alabama. At least 10,000 homes were heavily damaged or destroyed and dozens of public facilities were rendered inoperative. Many areas that were isolated by road closures and power outages extended over two weeks in some rural areas. At least five tornados were rated at EF5 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF Scale).
A series of meetings was held in the summer of 2011 to look at fire department and emergency medical services (EMS) organization activities in Alabama and Georgia during the tornados. Over 50 representatives of impacted departments attended and each had an opportunity to respond to specific questions as well as provide a free range of their own inputs.
The report, Fire Service Operations for the Southeastern Tornados – April 2011 (PDF,1.5 Mb), condenses those meetings and inputs and provides an insight into the routines, challenges and needs of local fire and EMS agencies during preparation for, response to and recovery from, natural disasters. It serves as a benchmark to provide USFA an opportunity for evaluation to ensure we are providing the services that the first responder community requires for success, as well as to guide directions for future activities.

USFA Announces 2011 Onduty Firefighter Deaths

July 17, 2012 Comments off

USFA Announces 2011 Onduty Firefighter Deaths

Source: U.S. Fire Administration

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) announced today the release of the report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States in 2011. There were 83 onduty firefighter fatalities in the United States as a result of incidents that occurred in 2011. This represents a continuing decline in the overall number of firefighter fatality deaths in recent years and an almost five percent decrease from the 87 fatalities reported for 2010. When analyzing the overall trend in the United States going back to 1977, accounting for the Hometown Heroes added to totals since the law changed in 2004, the 2011 total represents the lowest year of record for the second year in a row.

The 83 fatalities occurred in 33 states, one U.S. territory, and one overseas U.S. military facility. Texas experienced the highest number of fatalities (7). North Carolina experienced six firefighter deaths and was the only other state with five or more firefighter fatalities.

Heart attacks were responsible for the deaths of 50 firefighters (60 percent) in 2011, nearly the same proportion of firefighter deaths from heart attack or stroke (63 percent) in 2010. Ten onduty firefighters died in association with wildland fires, the lowest number of annual firefighter deaths associated with wildland fires since 1996. Fifty-four percent of all firefighter fatalities occurred while performing emergency duties.

Four of the firefighters who died while responding to incidents in 2011 were killed by trauma caused by motor vehicle collisions, including three in privately-owned vehicles and one in a fire department apparatus.

Operational Templates and Guidance for EMS Mass Incident Deployment

July 12, 2012 Comments off

Operational Templates and Guidance for EMS Mass Incident Deployment (PDF)

Source: U.S. Fire Administration

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), supported by the DHS Office of Health Affairs (OHA) and the National Emergency Medical Services Management Association (NEMSMA), announces the release of a new guide for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers: Operational Templates and Guidance for EMS Mass Care Incident Deployment (PDF, 1.5 Mb).

"This guide provides important information on preparing for events that can impact EMS preparedness and response in local departments," said U.S. Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell. "The model policies and practices referenced in the guide will lead to a better prepared EMS deployment to mass care incidents."

The guide is intended to provide information to local-level EMS and fire departments on the development and enhancement of the organization and preparedness for mass care incidents, including natural and man-made disasters, large gathering and pandemic events, and other emergencies potentially resulting in large numbers of patients.

USFA, Office of Health Affairs Release Funding Alternatives for Emergency Medical and Fire Services

April 25, 2012 Comments off
Source:  U.S. Fire Administration
The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), supported by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Health Affairs (OHA), and in partnership with the International Fire Services Training Association (IFSTA), announce the revision and release of Funding Alternatives for Emergency Medical and Fire Services (PDF, 3.7 Mb). The latest edition provides the most up to date information regarding funding for local level Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and fire departments.  The document includes sources of federal funding as well as other new and innovative funding sources not discussed in previous editions.
“Adequate funding is one of the most challenging issues facing EMS and fire departments today,” said U.S. Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell. “This document provides valuable information for local-level departments facing financial challenges.”
A key part of the project initiative was an enhanced study of critical funding issues for both fire and non-fire service based EMS systems.

+ Full Document (PDF)

USFA, Federal Highway Administration Complete Study of Traffic Incident Management Systems

April 13, 2012 Comments off

USFA, Federal Highway Administration Complete Study of Traffic Incident Management Systems
Source: U.S. Fire Administration and Federal Highway Administration

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Highway Administration, working in partnership with the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA) have, through a study of current traffic incident management practices and policies, updated the 2008 edition of the Traffic Incident Management Systems (TIMS) (PDF, 5 Mb) manual. The 2012 edition provides the most current technical information and training programs in traffic incident management for fire and emergency service providers in this area as well as guidance to local fire departments on compliance with the latest edition of the DOT Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

“Effective traffic incident management can enhance roadway safety for firefighters and other emergency responders of which too many have been killed on duty from being struck by vehicles,” said U.S. Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell. “The USFA was pleased to work with the DOT Federal Highway Administration and IFSTA towards reducing this number.”

This project included research into effective roadway operations safety and management examining such technology and practices as:

  • roadway safety vests and other personal protective equipment,
  • effective distance of placement of roadway warning signs,
  • correct amount and type of emergency vehicle warning lighting (e.g., intensity, color, etc.), and
  • roadway operations safety training.

+ Full Document (PDF)

USFA Releases Civilian Fire Fatalities in Residential Buildings (2008-2010) Report

March 22, 2012 Comments off

USFA Releases Civilian Fire Fatalities in Residential Buildings (2008-2010) Report
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) United States Fire Administration (USFA) issued a special report today examining the characteristics of civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings. The report, Civilian Fire Fatalities in Residential Buildings (2008-2010) (PDF, 916 Kb), was developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center and is based on 2008 to 2010 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).

According to the report:

  • Ninety-two percent of all civilian fatalities in residential building fires involve thermal burns and smoke inhalation.
  • The leading specific location where civilian fire fatalities occur in residential buildings is the bedroom (55 percent).
  • Fifty percent of civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings occur between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. This period also accounts for 47 percent of fatal fires.
  • Thirty-six percent of fire victims in residential buildings were trying to escape at the time of their deaths; an additional 35 percent were sleeping.

“Other unintentionally set, careless” actions and “smoking” (each accounting for 16 percent) are the leading causes of fatal residential building fires.
Approximately 44 percent of civilian fatalities in residential building fires are between the ages of 40 and 69. Thirteen percent of the fire fatalities in residential buildings were less than 10 years old.

+ Full Report (PDF)

USFA Releases 2010 Fire Estimate Summary Series

December 24, 2011 Comments off
USFA Releases 2010 Fire Estimate Summary Series
Source:  U.S. Fire Administration

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) issued the 2010 Fire Estimate Summary Series today which presents basic information on the size and status of the fire problem in the United States as depicted through data collected in USFA’s National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). The data summary series was developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center and is further evidence of FEMA’s commitment to sharing information with the American public, fire departments, and first responders around the country to help them keep their communities safe.

USFA Releases Residential Building Fires Topical Report

October 1, 2011 Comments off

USFA Releases Residential Building Fires Topical Report
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) announces the release of a special report focusing on the causes and characteristics of fires in residential buildings. The report, Residential Building Fires (PDF, 973 Kb), was developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center. Residential buildings include what are commonly referred to as homes, whether they are one- or two-family dwellings or multifamily buildings. It also includes manufactured housing, hotels and motels, residential hotels, dormitories, assisted living facilities, and halfway houses.

According to the report:

  • An estimated 374,900 residential building fires are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated 2,630 deaths, 13,075 injuries, and $7.6 billion in property loss.
  • Cooking is the leading cause of residential building fires (44 percent). Nearly all residential building cooking fires are small, confined fires (94 percent).
  • Residential building fire incidence is higher in the cooler months, peaking in January at 11 percent.
  • Residential building fires occur most frequently in the early evening hours, peaking during the dinner hours from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., when cooking fires are high.
  • Forty-six percent of nonconfined residential building fires extend beyond the room of origin. The leading causes of these larger fires are electrical malfunctions (16 percent), unintentional or careless actions (15 percent), intentional (12 percent), and open flame (11 percent).
  • Smoke alarms were not present in 21 percent of the larger, nonconfined fires in occupied residential buildings.

+ Full Report (PDF)

USFA Releases Annual Report on Firefighter Fatalities in the United States

September 28, 2011 Comments off

USFA Releases Annual Report on Firefighter Fatalities in the United States
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) today released the report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States in 2010 (PDF, 2.5 Mb). The report continues a series of annual studies by the USFA of onduty firefighter fatalities. The USFA is the single public agency source of information for all onduty firefighter fatalities in the United States each year.

Eighty-seven onduty firefighters from 31 states lost their lives as the result of 83 fatal incidents that occurred in 2010. This is the second consecutive year of substantially fewer firefighter deaths in the United States. During the previous six-year period of 2004-2009, the average number of annual onduty firefighter deaths was 112. Illinois experienced the highest number of fatalities with nine firefighters killed; New York and Ohio had the next highest totals with eight firefighter deaths each.

+ Full Report (PDF)

USFA Releases Civilian Fire Fatalities in Residential Buildings Report

September 9, 2011 Comments off

USFA Releases Civilian Fire Fatalities in Residential Buildings Report
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) issued a special report today examining the characteristics of civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings. The report, Civilian Fire Fatalities in Residential Buildings (PDF, 1.0 Mb), was developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center and is based on 2007 to 2009 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).

According to the report:

  • Ninety-one percent of all civilian fatalities in residential building fires involve thermal burns and smoke inhalation.
  • Bedrooms (55 percent) are the leading location where civilian fire fatalities occur in residential buildings.
  • Fifty-one percent of civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings occur between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. This period also accounts for 49 percent of fatal fires.
  • Seventy percent of fire victims in residential buildings were escaping (36 percent) or sleeping (34 percent) at the time of their deaths.
  • Smoking was the leading cause of fatal residential building fires.
  • Males accounted for 57 percent of civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings; women accounted for 43 percent of the fatalities.
  • Approximately 43 percent of civilian fatalities in residential building fires are between the ages of 40 and 69.
  • Thirteen percent of civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings were less than 10 years old.

+ Full Report (PDF)

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