USFA Releases Medical Facility Fires Topical Report

The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued a special report, part of its Topical Fire Report Series, examining the causes and characteristics of fires in medical facilities. An estimated average of 6,400 fires occurs each year in medical facilities. Annually, these fires are also responsible for 5 civilian deaths, 175 civilian injuries, and $34 million in property loss. The report, Medical Facility Fires, was developed by the National Fire Data Center, part of FEMA’s U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). The report is based on 2004 to 2006 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).

According to the report, 44 percent of medical facility fires occur in 24-hour care nursing homes with an additional 23 percent occurring in hospitals. The daily incidence of medical facility fires peaks during meal preparation times as cooking is the leading cause of medical facility fires. Cooking accounts for 64 percent of fires in medical facilities. Confined cooking fires, those confined to the container, account for 55 percent of all medical facility fires.

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.

Download the report HERE.

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