Fire losses in the U.S. total 1.9% of GDP

According to the report Total Cost of Fire in the United States by the Fire Protection Research Foundation and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the total cost of fires in 2014 was $328.5 billion, equaling 1.9% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Fire Protection expenditures such as firefighting, infrastructure and insurance total $273.1 billion and direct losses such as deaths, injuries and property loss total $55.4 billion meaning the cost of fire protection is nearly six times that of the actual loss from fires.

According to the report, direct and indirect property losses, $13.2 billion and $1.9 billion respectively, together constitute only 4.6% of the total cost of fire. But what the report does not include is the additional loss to business, both for property experiencing the fire but the surrounding businesses and property owners disrupted, sometimes for months or even year as they endure rebuilding of properties destroyed by fire.


The U.S. Fire Administration reports that every year, fire kills more Americans than all other natural disasters combined.


"Fire kills over 3,500 and injures 15,000 people each year."


According to NFPA, there were 499,000 structure fires in 2017, causing 2,815 civilian deaths, 12,160 civilian injuries, and $23 billion in damages. NFPA estimates 262,500 fires occurred in homes resulting in 2,290 deaths, 7,470 injuries, and $6.1 billion in damages, and 95,000 occurred in apartment buildings resulting in 340 deaths, 3,130 injuries, and $1.6 billion in damages. Property damages from fires have been increasing over time.


Since the U.S. Fire Administration released of the report “America Burning” in 1973, fire loss in the United States have improved. However, they state that due to new fire challenges, much work on our nation's fire problem still remains. The Administration is partnering with the International Association of Fire Chiefs to evaluate the country's progress in achieving past America Burning recommendations and to review related scholarly research and other relevant information to find solutions to this difficult problem.


Source: U.S. Fire Administration and National Fire Protection Association.

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