Fire Safety Statistics from NFPA

"Reproduced from NFPA's Fire Prevention Week


  • In 2011, U.S. fire departments responded to 370,000 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,910 civilian injuries, 2,520 civilian deaths, $6.9 billion in direct damage.
  • On average, seven people die in U.S. home fires per day.
  • Cooking is the leading cause home fires and home fire injuries, followed heating equipment. Smoking is a leading cause of civilian home fire deaths.
  • Most fatal fires kill one or two people. In 2011, 12 home fires killed five or more people resulting in a total of 67 deaths.
  • 61 firefighters were fatally injured while on duty at fires

On average, a fire department responded to:

  • A fire every 23 seconds,
  • A structure fire every 65 seconds,
  • An outside fire every 46 seconds,
  • And a vehicle fire every 144 seconds.
  • Fire claimed nine lives every day.


HomeStructure Fires

In 2011, home structure fires caused 84% of the civilian fire deaths and 79% of the civilian fire injuries. Homes include one-and two-family homes, apartments, townhouses, row houses, and manufactured homes.

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries.  Unattended cooking is the leading factor contributing to these fires.  Frying is the leading type of activity associated with cooking fires.  More than half of all cooking fire injuries occurred when people tried to fight the fire themselves.

Smoking has been the leading cause of home fire deaths for decades. More than two-thirds (66%) of the home smoking material fire fatalities resulted from fires originating with a) upholstered furniture, or b) mattresses or bedding.

Heating equipment was involved in one of every five home fire deaths. Heating equipment ranked second in reported home fires, home fire deaths and home fire injuries. Portable and fixed space heaters, including wood stoves, are involved in more fires than central heat. These fires are also more likely than central heating fires to result in death.

Intentional fires are the third leading cause of home fires. According to FBI statistics, roughly half of the people arrested for arson in recent years were under 18.

Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was the fourth leading cause of home fires. A study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that homes with older wiring face an increased risk of electrical wiring fire. 

Candles were the fifth leading cause of home fire injuries. These fires nearly tripled from 1990 to 2001 with the increase in candle sales but have since fallen back to the mid 1990’s levels. Candles used for light in the absence of electrical power caused 1/3 of fatal candle fires


Fire Prevention Week themes over the years

1957         Don't Give Fire a Place to Start

1958         Don't Give Fire a Place to Start

1959         Fire Prevention is Your Job…Too

1960         Don't Give Fire a Place to Start

1961         Don't Give Fire a Place to Start

1962         Fire Prevention is Your Job…Too

1963         Don't Give Fire a Place to Start

1964         Fire Prevention is Your Job…Too

1965         Don't Give Fire a Place to Start

1966         Fight Fire

1967         Fire Hurts

1968         Fire Hurts

1969         Fire Hurts

1970         Fire Hurts

1971         Fire Hurts

1972         Fire Hurts

1973         Help Stop Fire

1974         Things That Burn

1975         Learn Not to Burn

1976         Learn Not to Burn

1977         Where There's Smoke, There Should Be a Smoke Alarm

1978         You Are Not Alone!

1979         Partners in Fire Prevention

1980         Partners in Fire Prevention

1981         EDITH (Exit Drills In The Home)

1982         Learn Not To Burn - Wherever You Are

1983         Learn Not To Burn All Through the Year

1984         Join the Fire Prevention Team

1985         Fire Drills Save Lives at Home at School at Work

1986         Learn Not to Burn: It Really Works!

1987         Play It Safe…Plan Your Escape

1988         A Sound You Can Live With: Test Your Smoke Detector

1989         Big Fires Start Small: Keep Matches and Lighters in the Right Hands

1990         Keep Your Place Firesafe: Hunt for Home Hazards

1991         Fire Won't Wait...Plan Your Escape.

1992         Test Your Detector - It's Sound Advice!

1993         Get Out, Stay Out: Your Fire Safe Response

1994         Test Your Detector For Life

1995         Watch What You Heat: Prevent Home Fires!

1996         Let's Hear It For Fire Safety: Test Your Detectors!

1997         Know When to Go: React Fast to Fire

1998         Fire Drills: The Great Escape!

1999         Fire Drills: The Great Escape!

2000         Fire Drills: The Great Escape!

2001         Cover the Bases & Strike Out Fire

2002         Team Up for Fire Safety

2003         When Fire Strikes: Get Out! Stay Out!

2004         It's Fire Prevention Week! Test Your Smoke Alarms

2005        Use Candles With Care.  When You Go Out, Blow Out!

2006         Prevent Cooking Fires: Watch What You Heat

2007         It's Fire Prevention Week! Practice Your Escape Plan

2008         It's Fire Prevention Week! Prevent Home Fires

2009         Stay Fire Smart! Don't Get Burned

2010         Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With

2011         It's Fire Prevention Week! Protect Your Family From Fire!

2012         Have 2 Ways Out!

2013         Prevent Kitchen Fires

2014         Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month

2015         Hear The Beep Where You Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm!

2016         Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years