Because home fires are more prevalent in winter than in any other season, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) are once again jointly sponsoring a special initiative titled “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires” to help raise public awareness about winter fires.
“These fires are a painful reminder of what we see every year – the temperatures drop and fires increase,” NFPA President Jim Shannon said.
According to NFPA statistics, space heaters account for about one-third of home heating fires and approximately 80 percent of the home heating fire deaths.
The USFA’s Winter Residential Building Fires report shows that each winter an estimated 108,400 residential building fires occur in the United States, resulting in 945 deaths, 3,825 injuries and $1.7 billion in property loss. Cooking is the leading cause of winter residential building fires at 36 percent, followed by heating at 23 percent. Winter residential building fires occur mainly in the early evening hours, peaking from 5 to 8 p.m.
“The winter season brings the highest number of home fires, more than at any other time of year,” USFA’s Deputy Fire Administrator Glenn Gaines said. “Home fires increase in part due to cooking and heating. Winter storms can also interrupt electrical service and cause people to turn to alternative heating sources that contribute to the increased risk of fire during the winter months.”