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11 Posts authored by: nancyschwartz Employee

Firefighters work in varied and complex environments that increase their risk of on-the-job death and injury. NFPA estimates that 68,085 firefighter injuries occurred in the line of duty in 2015. An estimated 29,130 (42.8%)  of all firefighter injuries occurred during fireground operations.


Each year, NFPA studies firefighter deaths and injuries to provide national statistics on their frequency, extent and characteristics. A better understanding of how these fatalities, nonfatal injuries and illnesses occur can ultimately help identify corrective action, and in turn could help minimize the inherent risks.


NFPA’s latest report, U.S. Firefighter Injuries - 2015, includes among its results:

*The total number of 2015 firefighter injuries

*Firefighter injuries by type of duty

*Trends in firefighter injuries and rates

*The number of exposures to hazardous conditions

*The number of collisions involving fire department vehicles

And much more.


Read the full report and also see two other reports related to firefighter injuries, An Analysis of Volunteer Firefighter Injuries and Patterns of Firefighter Fireground Injuries.

CaptureAs Arson Awareness Week comes to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to tell people about NFPA's report on intentional fires.  Intentional Fires, by Richard Campbell, is an excellent resource and includes information on structure, vehicle and outside intentional fires, when and where these fires occur and arrest and clearance information. 

More than 280,000 intentionally set fires per year were reported to local fire departments in the U.S. between 2007-2011. Vehicle fires accounted for seven percent of intentional fires and fourteen percent of the direct property damage caused by intentional fires.  

I hope you can take a minute to check out the intentional fires report

John Hall as SpockAfter three decades of leading NFPA’s Fire Analysis and Research Division, Dr. John R. Hall, Jr. is retiring from NFPA on April 30. 

I have worked with John for over 20 years but I still learned some new things about John through a few questions I recently posed to him. 

For instance, I knew that John came to NFPA from the National Bureau of Standards but I didn’t know that John had also worked at the United States Fire Administration (USFA) during the early years of the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).  It was John’s work using NFIRS that caught the eye of NFPA.  NFPA was looking for someone to provide statistical support to the technical committees and John was the man.

One of John’s first accomplishments was creating NFPA’s One-Stop Data Shop.  John’s vision for the One-Stop Data Shop was to use it as a vehicle to get NFPA recognized as the national #1 source for fire statistics.  It is through the dozens of reports, many authored by John, and the ability to do custom work that the One-Stop Data Shop is now a go-to source for fire statistics.

It is impossible for me to name all that John has done or even begin to measure the impact that John has made in the risk management and fire statistical world.   Some of John’s proudest accomplishments are building consensus on good fire statistics by co-authoring a peer-reviewed article on the national estimates methodology; building analysis capability at NFPA; connecting to models and serving customers.  It is through these accomplishments that John has contributed to something he believes in “making people safer and making more people safe.”

When I asked John about his retirement plans he said “I am going to do lots of stuff around my home and around my town.”  John also wants to stay in touch with his friends at NFPA and will be rooting for NFPA’s success. 

We all wish John a happy & healthy retirement and thank him for all his hard work!  Congratulate John on his retirement by sending him an email

Iroquoisj3A fire at the Iroquois Theater in Chicago on December 30, 1903, killed 602 people and injured 250 others. It remains the fifth deadliest fire in U.S. history and the deadliest U.S. theater fire ever. The investigation showed that the fire was sparked by an arc light which ignited scenery curtains. An asbestos fire curtain was dropped on the stage, but was snagged on the way down and stopped about 10 feet above the stage, which allowed toxic smoke and flames to flow into the auditorium. Many deaths were due to crowd-crush, and the fire was brought under control in about 15 minutes by firefighters.

The fire alerted the country to the need for improved fire safety regulations in theaters. But for those who were there, it was a horror they could never forget. Read "A Tragedy Remebered" from the July/August 1995 issue of NFPA Journal® , which includes an eyewitness account from Eddie Foy, one of the actors performing on that fateful day.
The U.S. Fire Department Profile  is my go-to report for information on firefighters and fire departments in the U.S.   The report includes statistics on the numbers and characteristics of the U.S. fire departments and firefighters (career and volunteer).  It also includes information on the number of fire stations, pumpers and ladders nationwide.

For example, there were approximately 1,129,250 firefighters in the U.S. in 2012.  Of the total number of firefighters, 345,950 were career firefighters and 783,300 were volunteers.

For fire departments, there are an estimated 30,100 fire departments in the U.S.  Fifteen percent of all departments are all career or mostly career while 85% of the departments are mostly volunteer or
all volunteer.  Two-thirds of the U.S. population is protected by all career or mostly career fire departments.   

The full report is available on our website.

NFPA’s September 2013 report, Manufactured Home Fires shows that manufactured homes are as safe as so-called site-built homes.

The fire death rate per 100,000 occupied housing units was roughly the same as the rate for other one- or two-family homes.  The 1976 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban  Development (HUD) construction standards which required smoke alarms, escape windows, and flame
resistant wall coverings were the principal driver in making these manufactured homes safer. 

Manufactured homes built since 1976 have lower fire rates and fire death rates than homes built before 1976.  These lower rates persisted even as those “new” units got old.   CivilianDeaths

I should note the HUD standards were largely taken from NFPA’s voluntary consensus standard of the time. NFPA continues to update two standards related to manufactured housing, NFPA 501 and NFPA 501A. The increased safety of the manufactured homes built since 1976 shows how fire safety requirements help save lives.  However, the job is not yet done.  During 2007-2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 11,400 structure fires in manufactured homes per year that killed an average of 206 people annually.  Most of these deaths could have been prevented if residential sprinklers had been present.  The codes now call for sprinklers in all new site-built homes, and the same arguments apply just as strongly to manufactured homes.   

NFPA pointed the way to more safety in 1976, and we are still pointing the way today, but success is a team effort.  Congratulations to HUD and the industry.

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NFPA’s Fire Analysis and Research division publishes reports on causes and circumstances of fires that were reported to local fire departments.  To make it easier to find that one piece of information you need, follow the bookmarks to specific sections or links to specific tables or figures.   Why not give it a try with our recently release report on office structure fires. 

TIP:   Hit the “alt key” and the "back arrow key" at the same time to get back to your starting point.


If you’re just looking for major findings, check out our printable fact sheets with highlights from the reports. Feel free to quote directly from these pages or use them as hand-outs.  We just ask you that you reference NFPA as the source.

We’d like to hear what you use these reports for and what other issues we should consider exploring. Please let us know.  


FARI am proud to announce that NFPA's Fire Analysis and Research Division now has a quarterly newsletter. The first issue featured the 2012 firefighter fatality study; c of home fires; quick fire stats and newly released reports.

The goal of the newsletter is to provide links to the latest statistics, news and fire research reports.

We have lots of information to share so I hope you take a minute to check it out.

Sign-up to receive this quarterly newsletter
EMS week is a good time to recognize that almost half (45%) of fire departments in the United States provide EMS service and that two-thirds of fire department responses were medical aid calls.

As reported in NFPA’s Fire Loss in the U.S. during 2011, fire departments responded to 19,803,000 medical aid calls involving emergency medical services (EMS), medical assistance, and non-fire rescue these incidents accounted for 66% of fire department responses in 2011, up from 47% in 1980.

The U.S. Fire Department Profile report shows that in 2009-2011, the majority of U.S. fire departments provided at least some EMS services. Forty-four percent of the departments provided EMS only and 15% provided advanced life support (ALS) in addition. The percentage of departments providing any EMS, and more specifically both EMS and ALS, increased with the size of the population protected.

Each year, NFPA’s Fire Analysis and Research group sends out a fire experience survey to over 20,000 U.S. fire departments protecting larger communities with populations of 50,000 or more, and to a sample of departments protecting smaller communities to collect data on their fire experience.   Now through the end of May, the survey forms will be collected by mail and e-mail, and the results will produce estimates on the overall fire problem in the U.S.   Statistics on the number of fires and associated losses, fire department calls, data by region and community size, as well information on firefighter injuries will be published in the September/October issue of NFPA Journal and in the annual fire loss in the U.S. report.   Read more about the fire loss report. 

The survey would not be possible without the help of the U.S. fire departments and we are truly appreciative of the fire departments that receive a survey form and respond.

Civilian Fire Deaths in Homes

A new report, by NFPA's Michael J. Karter, Jr., presents an analysis of the U.S. fire experience by region between 2007 and 2011.  The report includes patterns and trends in the fire problem by each of the four major regions of the U.S., including differences in relative risk and in leading ignition causes.

Among the findings of the report:

  • Numbers of fires per thousand populations for the 2007-2011 period show that the South and Midwest with 5.4 fires per thousand people had the highest overall rates for the five year period. 
  • The Midwest with 13.0 and South with 12.8 had the highest annual average fire death rates per million people for the 2007-2011 period.  The West had the lowest death rates for all five years. 
  • Dying in a home fire is 28% higher in the Midwest and 24% higher in the South than in the whole country.
  • The Midwest with 71.8 and the Northeast with 62.3 had the highest civilian injury rates per million people for the 2007-2011 period.

Read the entire report, available for free on NFPA's website.

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