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- One home structure fire was reported every 85 seconds in 2010.
- Most fatal fires kill one or two people. In 2010, 19 home fires killed five or more people. These 19 fires resulted in 101 deaths.
- In 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to 369,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,350 civilian injuries, 2,640 civilian deaths, and $6.9 billion in direct damage.
- According to an NFPA survey, only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
- Almost three-quarters of Americans do have an escape plan; however, less than half actually practiced it.
- One-third of Americans households who made and estimate they thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. The time available is often less. And only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!
- Almost two-thirds (62%) of reported home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
- Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
- In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 92% of the time, while battery powered alarms operated only 77% of the time.
- Cooking has been the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries since 1990. Unattended cooking was by far the leading cause of these fires; Two-thirds of home cooking fires began with ignition of cooking materials, including food, cooking oil, fat, or grease .
- Cooking caused two of every five (42%) of reported home fires, roughly one of every seven (15% ) home fire deaths, and two of every five (37% ) home fire injuries, and 11% of direct property damage from home fires in 2010.
- Ranges accounted for the 58% of home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 16%.
- Children under five face a higher risk of non-fire burns associated with cooking than being burned in a cooking fire.
- 90% of burns associated with cooking equipment resulted from contact with hot equipment or some other non-fire source.
- Heating equipment was the leading cause of reported home fires in the 1980s and has generally ranked second since them. It is the second leading cause of home fire deaths. Fires involving heating equipment peak in December, January and February, as do deaths from these fires.
- The leading factor contributing to heating equipment fires was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.
- Portable or fixed space heaters, including wood stoves, were involved in one-third (32%) of home heating fires and four out of five (79%) home heating deaths.
- Half of home heating fire deaths resulted from fires caused by heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding.
- In 2010, smoking materials started and estimated 17,500 home structure fires, resulting in 540 deaths, 1,320 injuries and $535 million in direct property damage. Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths.
- Sleep was a factor in two of every five home smoking material fire deaths. Possible alcohol impairment was reported in one quarter of these deaths.
- In recent years, Canada and the United States have required that all cigarettes sold must be “fire safe,” that is have reduced ignition strength and less likely to start fires.
- Half (49%) of home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment. Other leading types of equipment were washer or dryer, fan, portable or stationary space heater, air conditioning equipment, water heater and range.
- In 2010, electrical failures or malfunctions were factors in an estimated 46,500 home structure fires resulting in 420 deaths, 1,520 injuries and $1.5 billion in property damage.
- On average, there are 35 home candle fires reported per day.
- More than one-third of these fires started in the bedroom.
- More than half of all candle fires start when things that can burn are too close to the candle.
- In 2010, candles caused 3% of home fires, 4% of home fire deaths, 6% of home fire injuries and 5% of direct property damage from home fires.
Home Fire Sprinklers
- Automatic fire sprinkler systems cut the risk of dying in a home fire by about 83%.
- Home fire sprinklers can contain and may even extinguish a fire in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive on the scene.
- Sprinklers are highly effective because they react so quickly in a fire. They reduce the risk of death or injury from a fire because they dramatically reduce the heat, flames and smoke produced, allowing people time to evacuate the home.
Safety Note From East Greenwich Township Fire & Rescue
Carbon Monoxide — The Silent Killer
In the midst of winter, as the mercury begins to dip, some families, struggling to pay their heating bills, turn on the kitchen stove burners and the oven in an effort to take the chill from their home. What these families don’t realize is how dangerous this practice can be. A gas oven or range top should never be used for heating. A fire could start, and poisonous carbon monoxide (CO) fumes could fill the home. Any fuel-burning heating equipment (fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters, space or portable heaters), genera-tors, and chimneys can produce CO.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there is an increased risk of dying in a home fire during the winter season. December, January, and February are generally the deadliest months for fire.
Also, hundreds of people die each year from unintentional CO poisoning. Fire departments responded to an estimated 61,000 CO incidents in 2005, a 9% increase from 2004. (This excludes incidents where a fire was present.) Close to 90% of CO incidents occur in the home.
Often called a silent killer, CO is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels, such as gaso-line, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane, burn incompletely. CO enters the body through breathing. CO poisoning can be confused with flu symptoms, food poi-soning, and other illnesses. Some symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light
headedness, or headaches.
Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning, but infants, pregnant women, and people with physical conditions that limit their ability to use oxygen, such as emphysema, asthma, or heart disease, can be more se-verely affected by low concentrations of CO than healthy adults. High levels of CO can be fatal for any-one, causing death within minutes.
The goal of the East Greenwich Township Fire & Rescue is to reduce the number of CO incidents and discourage anyone from using the range or oven to heat their home. Install CO alarms inside your home to provide an early warning of accumulating CO. Have your heating equipment inspected by a professional every year before cold weather sets in.
- CO alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Know the difference between the sound of smoke
alarms and CO alarms.
- Test CO alarms at least once a month.
- If your CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location and call for help. Remain at the fresh air location until emergency personnel say it is okay.
- If the audible trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries or other trouble indicators. The East Greenwich Township Fire & Rescue wants everyone to be warm and safe this winter. Make sure your home has carbon monoxide alarms.
—The Officers and Members of the East Greenwich Township Fire & Rescue
Batteries weaken with age and must be regularly checked and replaced (generally once a year). NEVER disable an alarm by "borrowing" its battery for another use.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning your smoke alarms. Debris and dust can generally be removed by using a vacuum cleaner attachment. Never paint any part of a smoke alarm. Once your smoke alarms are up and running, make sure everyone in the household is familiar with the sound of the alarms.