Fire danger peaks during winter months, new report warns

Photo: Fairfax Fire & Rescue

Fairfax County Emergency Management notes that a new report from the U.S. Fire Administration finds that residential building fire incidence was collectively higher in the winter months of January, February and March, peaking in January at 11 percent. While winter residential building fires accounted for only 8 percent of the total number of fires in the U.S., they resulted in 30 percent of all fire deaths and 23 percent of all fire injuries.

Each year during the 2014-2016 period, an estimated 108,200 winter residential building fires were reported to fire departments within the United States. These fires caused an estimated 980 deaths, 3,575 injuries and $1.9 billion in property loss.

According to the report.

  • cooking causes 40 percent of winter residential building firesAt 43 percent, cooking was the leading cause of winter residential building fires. Small, confined fires accounted for 90 percent of these cooking fires.
  • Winter residential building fires occurred most frequently in the early evening, peaking during the dinner hours from 5 to 8 p.m., when cooking fire incidence is high.
  • Nonconfined winter residential building fires most often started in cooking areas and kitchens (20 percent). The leading specific factor contributing to ignition in nonconfined winter residential building fires was a heat source too close to combustibles (16 percent).
  • In 51 percent of nonconfined winter residential building fires, the fire extended beyond the room of origin. The leading causes of these larger fires were unintentional or careless actions (19 percent), electrical malfunctions (14 percent), open flames (12 percent) and heating (9 percent).
  • Smoke alarms were not present in 22 percent of nonconfined winter fires in occupied residential buildings. Additionally, automatic extinguishing systems were present in only 4 percent of nonconfined winter fires in occupied residential buildings.

 

Comments