US Fire Administration

USFA releases residential building electrical fires report

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Source: US Fire Administration

The United States Fire Administration has issued a special report, part of its Topical Fire Report Series, examining the causes and characteristics of electrical fires that occur in residential buildings. An estimated 28,300 residential building electrical fires occur annually and cause 360 civilian deaths, 1,000 civilian injuries, and $995 million in direct loss. 'It is important for residents to take necessary and commonly known safety precautions to prevent electrical fires in the home,' said United States Fire Administrator Greg Cade. 'Checking for overloaded circuits, replacing worn electrical cords, and hiring licensed electricians to ensure proper installation of electrical equipment and its components are ways to reduce your chances of having an electrical fire in your home.'

The report, Residential Building Electrical Fires, was developed by the National Fire Data Center, part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's United States Fire Administration. The report is based on 2003 to 2005 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).

According to the report, 47 percent of the residential building electrical fires, where equipment was involved in the ignition of the fire, are caused by the building's wiring. Thirty-eight percent of electrical fires occur in functional areas of the home. Functional areas include bedrooms, dining rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, laundry areas, etc.

The short topical reports are designed to explore facets of the U.S. fire problem as depicted through data collected in NFIRS. Each topical report briefly addresses the nature of the specific fire or fire-related topic, highlights important findings from the data, and may suggest other resources to consider for further information. Also included are recent examples of fire incidents that demonstrate some of the issues addressed in the report or that put the report topic in context.

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