NFPA Journal - May/June 2013 - (Page 52)

Work in Progress AMERICA BURNING 1973–2013 On the 40th anniversary of its publication, a look at how the landmark America Burning report helped transform fire and life safety in the United States— and the challenges that remain BY MARTY AHRENS O N MAY 4, 1973, the National Commission on Fire Prevention and Control delivered its final report to President Richard M. Nixon. The report, two years in the making, was called America Burning, and it offered a comprehensive look at the nation’s fire problem as well as recommendations for reducing fire losses. Above all, it was unsparing in its assessments and unafraid to buttress its recommendations with moral purpose. “Appallingly, the richest and most technologically advanced nation in the world leads all the major industrialized countries in per capita deaths and property loss from fire,” the report’s authors wrote in its opening pages, establishing the tone for much of America Burning. “America’s poor fire record, and its failure to marshal enough scientific and monetary resources to improve the record, concerns those who work in the field of fire protection.” ONLINE For the complete text of America Burning online, visit and click on “publications.” VIDEO Our collection of short video interviews captures an array of perspectives on the 40th anniversary of America Burning. 52 NFPA JOURNAL MAY/JUNE 2013 America Burning transformed our perceptions of fire loss, fire safety, and fire protection as no other document ever had, and its impact is still being felt 40 years after its creation. The formation of the U.S. Fire Administration, the National Fire Academy, and the National Fire Incident Reporting System were just a few of the outcomes of the America Burning recommendations, which placed a heavy emphasis on federal support for local fire service efforts. The report’s authors believed that a 50 percent reduction in fire deaths, injuries, and property loss was possible within a generation. For all of the rallying cries contained in America Burning, though, the country continues to wrestle with a persistent fire problem. Compared to the rest of the industrialized world, the U.S. still has an above-average fire death rate. Public education on fire risk remains a challenge, as does the struggle to maintain federal resources in support of local firefighting efforts. The fire threat posed by the growing wildland/

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NFPA Journal - May/June 2013

NFPA Journal - May/June 2013
First Word
In a Flash
Heads Up
Structural Ops
In Compliance
Electrical Safety
Wildfire Watch
Treasurer's Report
Work in Progress
Amping It Up
Drill Team
Working Together
Code Process 2.0
Routine Maintenance
Here, There, Everywhere
Section Spotlight
Expo Preview: Exhibitors' Showcase
Looking Back

NFPA Journal - May/June 2013