Thanksgiving Day Fires in Residential Buildings

 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) United States Fire Administration (USFA) issued a special report examining the characteristics of Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings. The report, Thanksgiving Day Fires in Residential Buildings, was developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center and is further evidence of FEMA’s commitment to sharing information with fire departments and first responders around the country to help them keep their communities safe during this holiday.

The report is part of the Topical Fire Report Series and is based on 2006 to 2008 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). According to the report, an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings occur annually in the United States, resulting in an estimated average of 5 deaths, 25 injuries, and $21 million in property loss. The leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings is, by far, cooking.

In addition, these fires occur most frequently in the afternoon hours from noon to 4 p.m. Smaller, confined fires account for 71 percent and larger, nonconfined fires account for 29 percent of Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings. Finally, smoke alarms were not present in 20 percent of nonconfined Thanksgiving Day fires that occurred in occupied residential buildings.

The topical reports are designed to explore facets of the U.S. fire problem as depicted through data collected in NFIRS. Each topical report briefly addresses the nature of the specific fire or fire-related topic, highlights important findings from the data, and may suggest other resources to consider for further information. Also included are recent examples of fire incidents that demonstrate some of the issues addressed in the report or that put the report topic in context.

 FINDINGS

  • An estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated average of 5 deaths, 25 injuries, and $21 million in property loss.

  • Smaller, confined fires account for 71 percent of Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings.

  • Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings occur most frequently in the afternoon hours from 12 to 4 p.m., peaking from noon to 1 p.m.

  • Cooking is the leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings at 69 percent. Nearly all of these cooking fires (97 percent) are small, confined fires with limited damage.

  • Electrical malfunctions (14 percent), carelessness or other unintentional actions (14 percent), and open flames (13 percent) are the leading causes of the larger, nonconfined Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings.

  • Nonconfined Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings most often start in cooking areas and kitchens (22 percent).

  • The leading category of factors contributing to ignition of nonconfined Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings is the “misuse of material or product” (35 percent). Within this category, heat source too close to combustible materials and abandoned or discarded materials account for 14 percent and 9 percent of all nonconfined Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings, respectively.

  • No smoke alarms were present in 20 percent of nonconfined Thanksgiving Day fires in occupied residential buildings.

Seventy-nine percent of Thanksgiving Day fires in residen-tial buildings are confined to the object of origin (Figure 2). Included in these fires are those coded as “confined fires” in NFIRS. Nine percent of the Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings are confined to the room of origin, and the remaining 12 percent extend beyond the room of fire origin.

Copy of the Report, HERE

http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/downloads/pdf/statistics/v11i5.pdf

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