Fire-Related Injury Prevention
In 1995, there were an estimated 414,000 home fires in the U.S., which killed 3,640 individuals (1.4/100,000) and injured an additional 18,650 people. Direct property damage caused by these fires exceeded $4.2 billion. In 1994, the monetary equivalent of all fire deaths and injuries, including deaths and injuries to fire fighters, was estimated at $14.8 billion.
Residential fire deaths occur disproportionately in the southeastern states. They also occur disproportionately during the winter months of December-February, a period during which more than one-third of home fires occur, compared to one-sixth in the summer months of June-August. Many subgroups within the population remain highly vulnerable to fire morbidity and mortality. The rate of death due to fire is higher among the poor, minorities, children under age 5, adults over age 65, low-income communities in remote rural areas or in poor urban communities, and among individuals living in manufactured homes built before 1976, when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development construction safety standards became effective. Other risk factors for fire-related deaths include: inoperative smoke detectors, careless smoking, abuse of alcohol or other drugs, incorrect use of alternative heating sources including usage of devices inappropriate or insufficient for the space to be heated, inadequate supervision of children, and insufficient fire safety education.
The majority of fire-related fatalities occur in fires that start at night while occupants are asleep, a time when effective detection and alerting systems are of special importance. Operable smoke alarms on every level provide the residents of a burning home with sufficient advance warning for escape from nearly all types of fires. If a fire occurs, homes with functional smoke alarms are half as likely to have a death occur as homes without smoke alarms. As a result, operable residential smoke alarms can be highly effective in preventing fire-related deaths. It is important to understand that any smoke alarm - whether ionization or photoelectric, AC or battery powered - will offer adequate warning for escape, provided that the alarm is listed by an independent testing laboratory and is properly installed and maintained.
CDC's Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention (DUIP) works to prevent these needless deaths by conducting, coordinating, and funding fire and burn prevention research and interventions at the state, local, and community levels, and collaborating with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, U.S. Fire Administration, other federal agencies, private and voluntary agencies on developing recommendations for conducting and evaluating smoke detector programs.
In 1994, CDC began funding programs to prevent fire-related injuries through the distribution and installation of smoke alarms in homes in high-risk communities that do not have adequate smoke alarm coverage. Measurable success has resulted from the implementation of these interventions. For example:
- Since 1994, over 15,000 long life, lithium-powered smoke alarms were distributed and/or installed through this program.
These successes are the basis for developing performance measures aimed at reducing incidence of fire-related injuries.
Performance Goals and Measures
Performance Goal: Reduce the incidence of fire-related injuries by increasing the percent of residential dwellings that have at least one functional smoke alarm on each habitable floor in CDC-Funded projects.
|FY Baseline||FY 1999 Appropriated||FY 2000 Estimate|
|1.4 per 100,000 incidence of residential fire-related deaths (1994).||The incidence of residential fire-related deaths will be reduced from 1.40 per 100,000 in 1994 to 1.3 per 100,000 in 1999.||The incidence of residential fire-related deaths will be reduced from 1.4 per 100,000 in 1994 to 1.1 per 100,000 in 2000.|
|52% homes with smoke detector (1993).
52% homes with smoke detector (1993) .1
|The proportion of homes with at least one smoke detector will be increased from 80% in 1993 to 88% in 1999.||The proportion of homes with at least one smoke detector on each habitable floor will be increased from 52% in 1993 to 60% in 2000 in CDC-funded projects.|
|N/A||By 1999, recommendations for conducting and evaluating smoke alarm promotion programs will be developed for constituent review.||By 2000, recommendations for conducting and evaluating smoke detector promotion programs will be published.|
|Total Program Funding||$63,581||$76,498|
1 The baseline for this measure was changed from what was proposed in FY 1999 in order to begin using a more reliable data source. For FY 1999, a CPSC Smoke Detector Survey was used as the dat source; however, that survey was conducted one time only. The new data source is the National Health Interview Survey for which data points are collected annually.
Verification/Validation of Performance Measures: The National Vital Statistics System, National Health Interview Survey, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission will be used to verify and validate these performance measures.