- Careless smoking is the leading cause of residential fire deaths. Smoke detectors and smolder-resistant bedding and upholstered furniture are significant fire deterrents.
- Arson is the second largest cause of residential fires and residential fire deaths. In commercial properties, arson is the major cause of deaths, injuries and dollar loss.
- Heating is the third leading cause of residential fire deaths. Heater fires are the leading cause of fire deaths in the southeastern U.S.; wood stoves are particularly a problem in the northern U.S.
- Cooking is the leading cause of apartment fires and the second most frequent cause of single-family residential fires. These fires often result from unattended cooking and human error, rather than from mechanical failures of stoves or ovens.
Origins of Fires
Top Ten Areas of Origin
- Kitchen 27.1%
- Bedroom 12.7%
- Den 8.7%
- Chimney 8.3%
- Laundry Area 3.7%
- Heating Area 3.1%
- Garage 2.6%
- Bathroom 2.0%
- Hallway 1.4%
- Closet 1.3%
Where Fires Occur
- The southeastern U.S. has the highest fire death rate per capita
- People living in urban and rural areas have a much higher risk of dying in a fire than those living in suburban areas and small towns
- About 65% of all residential fire tragedies occur in single-family homes and duplexes
- At least 785 fire deaths occur in apartments each year. 20% of all structural fires are in apartments -- typically 60, 000 fires per year.
- About 80 people die in hotel/motel fires annually. Careless smoking is the leading cause of these deaths.
What Saves Lives
- A working smoke detector doubles a person's chance of surviving a fire. Approximately 86% of U.S. homes have at least one smoke detector.
- About 64% of residential fire deaths occur in the 18% of U.S. homes with no smoke detectors.
- Between 75% to 90% of all residential fire deaths could be prevented if residential sprinklers were used in conjunction with smoke detectors.
- Residential Sprinklers can now be connected to standard home plumbing systems and activated at the point where fire strikes, minimizing injuries and localizing property damage.