Did you know that if you have a reported fire in your home, you are more likely to die in that fire today than nearly 40 years ago?
This shocking fact comes from NFPA's Research and Analysis Division. Yes, there have been tremendous strides in reducing the U.S. home fire problem; smoke alarm use, public education, and code enforcement efforts have contributed to a decline in home fire deaths. For instance, in 1980, there were about 5,200 home fire deaths. In 2016, that number has decreased to about 2,700.
However, the number of home fire deaths per 1,000 fires (also known as the home fire death rate) in one- and two-family homes has remained consistent, and seemed to have increased a bit. When comparing the home fire death rate in 1980 with the rate in 2016, that's exactly what happened.
In her column for NFPA Journal, Lorraine Carli points to a new home's unprotected, lightweight construction, open floor plans, and synthetic furnishings as the culprit for the higher fatality rate in homes. "[The home fire death rate comparison] clearly states the problem and shows why the solutions we advocate for are so critical," states Carli, NFPA's vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. "Without adequate smoke alarms, home fire sprinklers, and a public educated about these facts, we cannot hope to change the trend anytime soon."
These crucial statistics are what's needed to prompt our audiences to take action and raise awareness about a nationwide problem. Read Carli's column for more on this topic.