NFPA report: The risk of fire death varies by age and race

Blog Post created by mikehazell Employee on Dec 22, 2014

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The percentage of fatal fire victims 65 and older has been increasing while the percentage of victims under 5 has fallen.


by NFPA's Marty Ahrens

According to NFPA’s new report, +Characteristics of Home Fire Victims+, older adults had the highest risk of fire death in the US compared to other age groups. In 2007-2011, people 65 and over were 2.4 times as likely to be killed in a home fire as the overall population. While children under five have historically also been a high risk group, their risk has dropped to 1.1 times that of the general population. The percentage of fatal home fire victims under five years of age fell from 18% in 1980 to 6% in 2011, while the percentage of victims 65 or older increased from 19% to 31% over the same period*. *The risk of home fire injury varies less with age than the risk of fire death.   

While the majority of home fire victims were white, African Americans, relative to their share of the population, were roughly twice as likely to be fatally injured in a home fire in 2007-2011 as the overall population.  The Hispanic home fire death rate was half that of the overall population. The difference was even greater for children and older adults.

African-American children under five had a home fire death rate of 23.0 deaths per million population, four times the 5.5 rate seen for white children and three times the 7.4 rate for Hispanic children and more than the same age. 

For African-American 65 and over, the rate was 56.3 deaths per million population, three times the 17.7 rate for white older adults and almost five times the 12.3 death rate experienced by older Hispanics. 

While great progress has been made, these statistics show that there is still a lot of work to be done to improve fire safety for ALL of our people.  Read the full report to learn more.