Building Construction, Firefighter Training, Fireground Safety

USFA releases December and holiday fires topical report

EMMITSBURG, MD. – The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) announced the release of a report today regarding December and holiday fires. Between the years 2002 and 2004, an annual average of 128,700 fires occurred during the month of December. These fires were responsible for an estimated 415 civilian fire deaths, 1,650 civilian fire injuries, and $990 million in property loss. Cooking is the leading cause of residential building fires in December followed by heating and open flame. Cooking fires routinely start to increase around Thanksgiving and peak in December with Christmas Day having the most cooking fires. December also has the highest incidence of children playing fires where candles are the heat source.

“It is a tragic realization, an unacceptable number of people lose their lives or are injured in holiday fires during what is supposed to be such a special time,” said Acting USFA Fire Administrator Charlie Dickinson. “With the onset of the holiday season, it is important to remind everyone in this nation to take extra safety precautions to prevent cooking and decoration fires in the home. By following general fire safety procedures related to cooking, candle usage, and decorations, potential fires remain preventable.”

The report, December and Holiday Fires, was developed by the USFA’s National Fire Data Center as part of its Topical Fire Research Series and is based on data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) for 2002-2004. The report examines the causes and characteristics of December fires as well as those occurring during the holiday season.

A copy of the topical report can be downloaded from: