Emergency Management

Massive Urban Fires

Fire is the sixth leading unintentional cause of injury and death in the United States. Fire ranks as the highest cause of death for children under the age of 15 at home.

Some of the dangers from fire include:

  • Asphyxiation: This is the leading cause of death in a fire, by a 3-to-1 ratio over burns.
  • Heat: A fully developed room fire has temperatures more than 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Smoke: Fire generates black, impenetrable smoke that blocks the vision, stings the eyes, and clogs the lungs. It may be impossible to navigate through such smoke.

Fires in the Home

Roughly 85 percent of all fire deaths occur where people sleep, such as in homes, dormitories, barracks, or hotels. The majority of fatal fires occur when people are less likely to be alert, such as nighttime sleeping hours.

Nearly all home and other building fires are preventable, even arson fires. Juveniles, who often respond to counseling, cause the majority of arson fires, and the rest can be prevented in a number of ways. No fire is inevitable.

In 2000, 3,420 people died in reported home fires in the United States about 9 people per day. In addition, thousands of people were injured in home fires, many with severe burns.

Fire victims are disproportionately children or the elderly. Children playing with fire start two out of every five fires that kill young children. Approximately 900 senior citizens die in fires annually.

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