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By now, thanks to the efforts that National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) puts in developing great statistical reports year after year, we in the fire service know that most fires and firerelated fatalities occur in homes. Take a look at the following 2007 statistics from the NFPA: "In 2007, U.S. fire departments responded to 399,000 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,600 civilian injuries, 2,865 civilian deaths, $7.4 billion in direct damage...

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 Hitting Close to Home                         structure fires. These fires caused 13,600   tial fires by 77% and the average loss per
     By now, thanks to the efforts that        civilian injuries, 2,865 civilian deaths,    residential fire by 63%.”
 National Fire Protection Association          $7.4 billion in direct damage…In 2007,            Numerous prior reports and statis-
 (NFPA) puts in developing great statisti-     home structure fires caused 84% of the       tics also pointed out that our fire problem
 cal reports year after year, we in the fire   civilian fire deaths and 77% of the civil-   is mainly in homes. We can and must be
 service know that most fires and fire-        ian fire injuries. Homes include one- and    more proactive, and we must put a much
 related fatalities occur in homes. Take       two-family dwellings, apartments, town-      higher priority on fire prevention, if we
 a look at the following 2007 statistics       houses, rowhouses and manufactured           indeed are serious about reducing fire fa-
 from the NFPA: “In 2007, U.S. fire de-        homes…Sprinklers decrease the fire           talities and injuries.
 partments responded to 399,000 home           death rate per 1,000 reported residen-            The newest NFPA report “Character-
                                                                                            istics of Home Fire Victims” gives us an
                                                                                            even better look and allows us to fix our
                                                                                            scopes on the target to have a much better
                                                                                            shot at addressing the fire problem in our
                                                                                            country; see http://www.nfpa.org/assets/
                                                                                            files//PDF/OS.HomeVictims.pdf. Here is
                                                                                            the good news first. Based on this report,
                                                                                            despite all of the fatalities, we are doing a
                                                                                            much better job of protecting our public
                                                                                            than before. The report states that “over-
                                                                                            all, civilian fire deaths in home structure
                                                                                            fires were down 47% in 2007, compared
                                                                                            to 1980. The civilian fire death rate in
                                                                                            home structure fires was down 60% in
                                                                                            2007, compared to 1980.” The not-so-
                                                                                            thrilling news is that the most vulnerable
                                                                                            high-risk population groups are the very
                                                                                            young, the very old and the economically
                                                                                            deprived. The report indicates:
                                                                                            • Children under the age of 5 are almost
                                                                                              1.5 times as likely to die in a home fire
                                                                                              as the general public
                                                                                            • Adults over the age of 65 are almost 1.8
                                                                                              times as likely to die in a home fire as
                                                                                              the general public
                                                                                            • Adults over th
								
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