4. Residential Fires and Associated Deaths and Injuries Are Preventable.

Key Messages

  • The "best" fire is one that never starts and the person least likely to be injured or killed in a fire is the one who is never exposed to fire danger in the first place. These goals are achieved through fire prevention.
  • Some of the greatest advances in fire prevention include the promulgation of laws, rules, codes, standards and regulations to promote the primary prevention of fires. These are evidence-based strategies that do not require the active participation of individuals to prevent fires. They protect consumers without the need for the consumers themselves to take action.
  • Ultimately, even with these fire preventive strategies, human behavior is the most significant factor in fire prevention and survival.
    • According to the CDC, alcohol use may be the strongest independent factor for death from fire. One study found that intoxication contributed to 40% of residential fire-related deaths. By altering one's cognitive, physiological, and motor functions, alcohol increases the chance of starting a fire while reducing the chance of survival from a fire.
  • The leading causes of residential fires in the United States are cooking equipment, heating equipment and electrical equipment. Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires and associated civilian injuries while smoking material fires are the leading cause of civilian fire deaths.
    • Simple common sense strategies and safety tips can prevent these types of fires.