Despite inflation, a sharp decrease in the average loss per dwelling fire occurred in 1950. according to the Federation of Mutual Fire Insurance Companies. Inflation-sparked dollar losses, however, zoomed to a new high of $188,700,000.
Tabulations developed by the Federation show an average loss per fire of $274 for the year, according to Dale K. Auck, Federation fire prevention engineer. The figure reflects an adjustment factor included to compensate for the decreased value of the dollar.
“This is the lowest since 1942,” Auck stated. “The average in 1949 was $406, only slightly below the high of $423 recorded in 1947. And it was accomplished despite a shocking increase in the number of dwelling fires—from 282,000 in 1949 to 387,000 in 1950.”
Purpose of the tabulations, Auck said, is to measure the success or failure of fire protection programs carried on by insurance companies, municipalities, and others. They cover the eleven-year pe.riod 1940 through 1950.
Similar tabulations were developed by the Federation for both mercantile and manufacturing risk classifications. Average mercantile loss, Auck said, was $1,208 in 1950. The year’s 28,800 mercantile fires cost $62,000,000, slightly less than the $66,000,000 registered in 1949 but $19,760,000 higher than the $42,240.000 lost in 1945. In the eleven-year period there were 427,600 mercantile fires for a total loss of $639,240,000.
Average manufacturing risk loss was $2,735 in 1950. The year’s 32,000 losses cost $155,750,000, sharply higher than the $ 133,800,000 loss in i949 and more than double the loss of $79,200,000 recorded in 1945.
In the eleven-year period there were 332,000 manufacturing risk fires. The total loss was $1,120,450,000.
“The tabulations,” Auck said, “clearly indicate that, despite skyrocketing dollar totals, the actual amount of real property destroyed has either remained constant, or has actually decreased.” “it further indicates,” he adds, “that the nation’s fire prevention and protection programs are taking effect.” Auck warned, however, against any let-up in fire prevention efforts.
“Losses in 1951,” he said, “are up over 1950. Continued effort and pressure from all sources must be maintained if the wasteful destruction of property by fire is to be further controlled.”