Fires can strike anywhere — in structures, buildings, automobiles and the outdoors. Fires that affect our homes are often the most tragic and the most preventable. It is a sad fact that each year, over 75 percent of all civilian fire fatalities occurred as aresult of fires in residential buildings — our homes.
From 2013 to 2015, civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings accounted for 83 percent of all fire fatalities. This topical fire report focuses on the characteristics of these fatalities as reported to the National Fire Incident Reporting System(NFIRS) from 2013 to 2015.
NFIRS data is used for the analyses presented throughout this report. By definition, civilian fire fatalities involve people not on active duty with a firefighting organization who die as a result of a fire.
These fatalities generally occur when an individual is escaping, sleeping or unable to act during a fire. Annually, from 2013 to 2015, an estimated 2,695 civilian fire fatalities resulted from 1,800 fatal fires in residential buildings and an estimated 380,200 residential building fires.
Fatal fires are those fires where one or more fatalities occur. This report focuses on the characteristics of civilian fire fatalities (e.g., gender, race and age of the victim; activity prior to death) in residential buildings as opposed to the characteristics of the fires (e.g., fire spread, factors contributing to ignition, alerting/suppression systems) from which thesefatalities occurred.
For the purpose of this report, the term “residential building fires” is synonymous with “residential fires.” The term “residential fires” is used throughout the body of this report; the findings, tables, charts, headings and endnotes reflect the full category “fires in residential buildings” or “residential building fires.”