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Stories Added - October 2009
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NFPA shares fire facts for Fire Prevention Week
Polk County Enterprise - October 2009
BY CHARLES K. FRANKLIN
The National Fire Protection Association is reminding families of some important facts to prevent fires and to prevent injuries should a fire occur. Fire Facts • In 2008, U.S. fire departments responded to 386,500 home fires. These fires killed 2,755 civilians. Eighty-three percent of all fire deaths resulted from home fires. • Someone was injured in a home fire every 40 minutes and roughly eight people died in home fires every day during 2008. • A fire department responded to a home fire every 81 seconds. • Almost two-thirds of reported home fire deaths in 2003-2006 resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. • About 1/3 of home fires and deaths happened in the months of December, January and February. • Cooking continues to be the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries. • Smoking materials caused one of every four home fire deaths. • The kitchen is the leading area of origin for home fires. However, bedrooms and living/family rooms are the leading areas of origin for home fire deaths. Burns • Burn injuries result in hundreds of thousands of emergency room visits a year.
Thermal burns outnumber scalds nearly two-toone. Cooking • Cooking is the leading cause of home fires, accounting for 40% of reported home fires and 36% of related injuries. • Unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires. • U.S. fire departments responded to 146,400 home structure fires involving cooking equipment in 2005. These fires caused 480 civilian fire deaths, 4,690 civilian fire injuries and $876 million in direct property damage. • Twelve percent of the fires occurred when something that could catch fire was too close to the equipment. Smoking • Smoking materials (i.e., cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.) are the leading cause of fire deaths (roughly one in four) in the U.S. • There were 142,900 smokingmaterial fires in the United States in 2006, causing 780 civilian deaths and 1,600 civilian injuries. • Older adults are at the highest risk of death or injury from smoking-material fires even though they are less likely to smoke than younger adults. • The most common items first ignited in home smoking-material fire deaths were upholstered furniture and mattresses or bedding. • One out of four victims of fatal smoking-related fires is not the smoker whose cigarette started the fire. Heating • In 2006, heating equipment was involved in an estimated 64,100 reported home structure fires, 540 civilian deaths, 1,400 civilian injuries, and $943 million in direct property damage.