According to the U.S. Fire Administration, an estimated 2,495 civilian fire fatalities resulted from 360,900 residential building fires annually from 2009 to 2011. Of the total residential building fires, 1,600 of them resulted in fatalities. The overall fatality rate was nearly six civilian fatalities per 1,000 residential fires.
The USFA reports that 76 percent of all civilian fire injuries relate to injuries occurring in residential buildings. Civilian fire injuries are defined as persons not on active duty with a firefighting organization who are injured as result of a fire. Every 40 minutes someone is injured in a residential building fire, according to the USFA.
This report focuses on the characteristics of civilian injuries from residential building fires for the period 2009-2011. Thirty-four percent of injuries resulted from trying to control a fire followed by attempting to escape (25 percent).
Findings from this report include:
- Ninety-two percent of all civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings suffered from thermal burns and smoke inhalation.
- Bedrooms (53 percent) were the leading specific location where civilian fire fatalities occurred in residential buildings.
- Fifty-one percent of civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings occurred between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. This period also accounted for 48 percent of fatal fires in residential buildings.
- 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 unintentional, careless” actions (16 percent) and “smoking” (15 percent) were the leading causes of fatal fires in residential buildings.
- Males accounted for 57 percent of civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings; females accounted for 43 percent of the fatalities.
- Forty-five percent of civilian fatalities in residential building fires were between the ages of 40 and 69.
- Thirteen percent of civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings were less than 10 years old.
- January had the highest number of residential building fires resulting in injuries (11 percent).
- “Cooking” (30 percent) was the primary cause of residential building fires resulting in injuries.