Fire Safety Facts & Stats

Fire Statistics and Standards

When fires are extinguished in the early stages:

  • Loss of life is minimal.
    • Ninety-three (93) percent of all fire-related deaths occur once the fire has progressed beyond the early stages. (Source: 1991-1995 NFIRS study)
  • Direct property damage is minimal.
    • Ninety-five (95) percent of all direct property damage occur once the fire has progressed beyond the early stages. (Source: 1991-1995 NFIRS study)

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires that every building or structure be designed, constructed, and maintained to protect occupants who are not intimate with the initial fire development for the time needed to evacuate, relocate, or defend in place.

According to the NFPA, a successful layered fire protection plan should be designed so that reliance for safety to life does not depend solely on any single safeguard. Additional safeguards shall be provided for life safety in case any single safeguard is ineffective due to inappropriate human actions or system failure.

Similar to NFPA, the International Building Code and International Fire Code both provide a system of protection schemes so as not to rely on a single safeguard to protect building occupants.

Other fire facts:

  • The United States has the highest number of people killed by fires each year. (Source: Geneva Association, World Fire Statistics No. 28)
  • In 2018, public fire departments responded to an estimated 1,318,500 fires in the United States, of which 499,000 occurred in structures, 181,500 occurred in vehicles, and 607,000 occurred in outside properties.*
  • A fire department responds to a fire somewhere in the United States every 24 seconds.*
  • A fire occurs in a structure at the rate of one every 63 seconds, and a home fire occurs every 87 seconds.*
  • Fires occur in highway vehicles at the rate of one every 2 minutes 54 seconds, and there is a fire in an outside and other property every 52 seconds.*
  • In 2018, there were 3,655 civilian (non-firefighters) fire deaths and 15,200 civilian fire injuries.*
  • Seventy-four percent (74%) of all fire deaths occur in the home.*
  • Nationwide, there was a civilian fire death every 144 minutes in 2018.*
  • $11.1 billion in property damage occurred in structure fires, including $8 billion in property loss in home fires in 2018.*

*Source: NFPA, Fire Loss in the United States During 2018, Ben Evarts

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