The U.S. has one of the highest fire death rates in the industrialized
world. For 1997, the U.S. fire death rate was 15.2 deaths per million
Between 1993 and 1997, an average of 4,500 Americans lost their lives
and another 26,500 were injured annually as the result of fire.
Fire is the third leading cause of accidental death in the home;
at least 80 percent of all fire deaths occur in residences.
Direct property loss due to fires is estimated at $8.5 billion annually.
Information on fire losses in Fayette County is provided in the latest
Annual Report produced by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.
Where Fires Occur
1,795,000 fires in the United States in 1997. Of these:
40% were Outside Fires
31% were Structure Fires
22% were Vehicle Fires
7% were fires of other types
Fires in the home most often start in the:
Living Room 7%
Laundry Area 4%
Causes of Fires and
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires & injuries in the
U.S. Cooking fires often result from unattended cooking and human error,
rather than mechanical failure of stoves or ovens.
Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths. Smoke alarms
and smolder-resistant bedding and upholstered furniture are significant
Heating is the second leading cause of residential fires and ties
with arson as the second leading cause of fire deaths. However, heating
fires are a larger problem in single family homes than in apartments.
Unlike apartments, the heating systems in single family homes are often
not professionally maintained.
Arson is the third leading cause of residential fires and the second
leading cause of residential fire deaths. In commercial properties,
arson is the major cause of deaths, injuries, and dollar loss.
Who is Most at Risk?
Senior citizens and children under the age of five have the greatest
risk of fire death.
The fire death risk among seniors is more than double the average
The fire death risk for children under age five is nearly double
the risk of the average population.
Children under the age of ten accounted for an estimated 18 percent
of all fire deaths in 1995.
Over 30 percent of the fires that kill young children are started
by children playing with fire.
Men die or are injured in fires twice as often as women.
Tips for Fire Safety
Fire Safety: On-the-Job
Keep flammables away from ignition sources.
Utilize flammable storage cabinets.
Know your chemical properties (check the MSDS for flammable/combustible
Do not block fire extinguishers with equipment.
Utilize those with electrical expertise/installations/assistance.
Do not overload outlets - use a track plug.
Practice good housekeeping techniques in the lab/office/work area.
Inspect wires for possible damage and replace as needed.
Evacuation Planning: Off-the-Job
Make sure everyone in your family knows and practices escape routes
from every room in your home.
Remember to escape first, know how to notify the fire department,
and when to call for help.
Never open doors that are hot to the touch.
Teach your family to stop, drop to the ground and roll if their clothes
Designate a meeting place outside. Try to make it a location away
from your home, but not necessarily across the street.
Teach your family to never re-enter a burning building.