Leading Causes of Fire
Over the past several decades, deaths from home structure fires in the United States have steadily gone down – from 5,200 in 1980 to 2,646 in 2015, according to Injury Facts 2017®.
But even one death from a preventable fire is too many. While fire doesn't discriminate by age, it is the third leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14. In 2015, 232 children in this age group died from fire and smoke inhalation.
Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires and fire injuries, followed by heating equipment, according to NFPA. Other causes include smoking, electrical problems, children playing with fire and candles.
What You Can Do
NSC provides the following tips to keep your home safe from fire:
- Install both types of smoke alarms (ionization and photoelectric) and carbon monoxide alarms; change the batteries at least once a year in these devices
- Plan – and practice – an escape route and agree on a meeting place outside of your home; be prepared to assist young children, family members with special needs and pets
- Know two ways out of every room in the home
- Learn how to use your fire extinguisher
- If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop and roll
- When evacuating, if door handles are hot, pick an alternate route
- Leave your house and call for help; do not go back to help someone else
The U.S. Fire Administration offers these additional tips to keep children safe from fire and burns:
- Keep children 3 feet away from anything hot, like candles, space heaters and stove-tops
- Keep smoking materials locked up in a high place; never leave cigarette lighters or matches where children can reach them
- Never play with lighters or matches when you are with your children; they may try to imitate you