USFA: Nearly 5,000 Children, Seniors Injured or Killed in U.S. Residential Fires

June 27, 2005

Two new reports from the U.S. Fire Administration show that 2,500 children and 2,300 seniors were injured or killed in residential fires in the United States in 2002.

Michael Brown, under secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, and head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), recently called the results “tragic.”

The reports, issued by the FEMA’s United States Fire Administration (USFA) examine the causes and characteristics of residential fires involving children and older adult casualties.

“Fires in the home involving children and older adults are often preventable,” said Brown. “Because children and older adults account for a substantial portion of the nation’s fire deaths and injuries, it’s important that we take steps to reduce this fire problem.”

According to the reports, an estimated 2,500 children age 14 or younger were injured or killed in residential fires. Of these fire casualties, almost half were under the age of five and 70 percent were under the age of 10. An estimated 2,300 adults age 65 or older were injured or killed in residential fires. Over 80 percent of older adult fire casualties were between the ages of 65 and 84.

The two reports, Residential Fires and Child Casualties and Residential Fires and Older Adult Casualties, were developed by the National Fire Data Center, part of FEMA’s U.S. Fire Administration. The reports explore factors that influence residential fires resulting in deaths or injuries of younger and older adult populations and are based on 2002 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), and U.S. Census Bureau data.

“The U.S. Fire Administration has developed fire safety campaigns specifically targeted at these high risk populations,” said U.S. Fire Administrator R. David Paulison. “Through these campaigns, we are able to provide important information to parents and caregivers and aid in reducing the risk of fire death and injury.”

Copies of the full reports can be downloaded from: .

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