NFPA Journal - March/April 2013 - (Page 77)

>>FIREANALYSIS+RESEARCH NFPA RESEARCH REPORTS IN BRIEF Home Candle Fires MARTY AHRENS From 2006 to 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 11,640 home structure fires started by candles every year. These fires caused an annual average of 126 civilian deaths, 953 civilian fire injuries, and $438 million in property damage. Candles caused 3 percent of the reported home fires, 5 percent of home fire deaths, 7 percent of home fire injuries, and 6 percent of direct property damage during this period. On average, 32 home candle fires were reported each day. Roughly one-third of home candle fires started in bedrooms and caused 42 percent of the associated deaths and 45 percent of the associated injuries. The 16 percent of fires that started in living rooms, family rooms, or dens caused 20 percent of the deaths. Fourteen percent of these candle fires started in bathrooms, while 11 percent began in kitchens. Candle fires start with a variety of burnable items. Eleven percent began with a mattress or bedding and caused 17 percent of the home candle fire deaths. Furniture or utensils were the item first ignited in 11 percent of these fires, and 9 percent started when a curtain, blinds, or drapery ignited. Cabinetry was first ignited in 8 percent of the fires and upholstered furniture in 6 percent of the fires, resulting in a quarter of the home candle fire deaths. Twelve percent of the home candle fires occurred in December, 1.5 times the monthly average of 8 percent. December candle fires often involve seasonal decorations that are not present at other times of the year. From January to November, decorations were first ignited in only 4 percent of home candle fires. However, this jumped to 11 percent in December. The top three days for home candle fires were Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Eve. More than half of the home candle fires occurred when some form of combustible material was too close to the candle, which should be kept at least 12 inches (30 centimeters) from anything that can burn. Unattended equipment or abandoned materials or products contributed to one of every five home candle fires, and four percent were started by people, usually children, playing with the candle. Two percent started when the candle was bumped into or knocked over. An improper container or storage was a factor in another 2 percent of the fires. In 11 percent of the home candle fires, the occupant fell asleep and left the candle burning unattended; these fires accounted for 43 percent of the associated deaths. From 1980, the first year of available data, to 1990, the number of home candle fires fell. They then started climbing until they peaked in 2001. Home candle fires have fallen since then, but the estimate of 9,600 fires reported in 2010 is still 1.4 times the 6,800 reported in 1990, the previous low. The number of candle fires was stable from 2009 to 2010. The share of home structure fires started by candles jumped from 1 percent in the early 1980s to 5 percent in 1999, 2001, and 2002, partly because the total number of home fires has declined since 1980 and partly because candle fires increased. The share fell to 4 percent from 2004 to 2006, inclusive. In 2007, the share dropped to 3 percent and has remained there. Home Structure Fires Involving Kitchen Equipment JOHN R. HALL, JR. From 2006 to 2010, an estimated 2,920 reported U.S. home structure fires involving kitchen equipment, but excluding cooking equipment, resulted in annual averages of 6 civilian deaths, 82 civilian injuries, and $75 million in direct property damage. Nearly all home fires involving kitchen equipment, but excluding cooking equipment, involved refrigerators and freezers or dishwashers. Refrigerators, stand-alone freezers, and separate ice makers together were involved in 1,710 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments per year, resulting in 2 civilian deaths, 56 civilian injuries, and $50 million in direct property damage per year. Roughly three out of five of these fires began with ignition of appliance housing or casing or of wire or cable insulation, and one-third of them began in a room other than the kitchen, starting with the garage. These appliances were also involved in an estimated 49,660 injuries reported to hospital emergency rooms in 2011. Most of these injuries did not involve burns or fire but sprains or strains, contusions or abrasions, lacerations, and fractures. Dishwashers were involved in 1,130 home structure fires that resulted in 2 civilian deaths, 19 civilian injuries, and $23 million in direct property damage per year. Roughly three-quarters of these fires also began with ignition of appliance housing or casing or of wire or cable insulation. Dishwashers were involved in 9,790 injuries reported to hospital emergency rooms in 2011. The other equipment types in this group—garbage disposers, blenders, juicers, food processors, can openers, coffee grinders, and knife sharpeners— collectively were involved in 90 home structure fires during this period. Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment MARTY AHRENS Cooking is, and has long been, the leading cause of home structure fires and civilian home fire injuries. Between 2006 and 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 157,300 home structure fires in which cooking equipment was involved in the MARCH/APRIL 2013 NFPA JOURNAL 77

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NFPA Journal - March/April 2013

NFPA Journal - March/April 2013
Contents
First Word
In a Flash
Perspectives
Firewatch
Research
Heads Up
Structural Ops
In Compliance
Buzzwords
Outreach
Electrical Safety
Wildfire Watch
Cover Story: Storage Occupancies
Fifty Years of Smoke Detection
Industrial Occupancies
Chicago 2013
Fire Analysis + Research
Section Spotlight
What’s Hot
Looking Back

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