Information Bulletin Number 0709117

USFA Releases Fires and Exposures Report

Release Date: September 21, 2007

WASHINGTON D.C. - The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) has issued a special report examining the causes and characteristics of fires that lead to exposure fires.  The report, Fires and Exposures, developed by the USFA's National Fire Data Center, is part of the Topical Fire Research Series and is based on 2004 National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) data.  In 2004, an estimated 12,100 fires spread beyond their boundaries and caused an estimated 18,600 additional fires referred to as exposure fires.  These source fires and their subsequent exposure fires resulted in an estimated total of $803 million in direct losses, 875 injuries, and 275 fatalities.

"Preventing exposure fires involves controlling the spread of fire," explained U.S. Fire Administrator Greg Cade.  "It is critical to ensure sprinklers are installed to prevent fire spread.  The installation of fire sprinkler systems can save lives, prevent injuries, and greatly reduce property losses."

Forty-nine percent of all source fires, those fires leading to exposure fires, occur in structures.  Additionally, twenty-eight percent of the source fires are vehicle fires, and 21 percent are outside fires.  Structure source fires have over seven times the fire death rate, over five times the loss rate, and over four times the fire injury rate as the average structure fire.

A copy of the full report can be downloaded at http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/downloads/pdf/tfrs/v7i2.pdf (PDF, 792 Kb).