YOUR COMMUNITY MUST
INVEST IN FIRE PREVENTION
Help Decision Makers Understand the Direct and Indirect Cost of Fire
The Direct Cost of Fire
The impact of fire on the economy goes well beyond the more than $12.5 billion in direct property damage*. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that in 2008, economic losses to fire (direct and indirect, reported and unreported) totaled $20.1 billion.
They also estimate that in 2008, the total cost of fire was $362 billion, or 2.5 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP)**.
**The total cost of fire includes the losses that fire causes, such as human losses (e.g., lives lost, medical treatment of injuries, pain and suffering) and economic losses (e.g., property damage, business interruption); and the cost of provisions to prevent or mitigate the cost of fire, such as fire departments, insurance, and fire protection equipment and construction.
Emergency Department Visits — Emergency department care is sought for more than 304,000 injuries each year as a result of a residential fire, yielding 54 percent of all emergency department visits for fire related injuries.
Fire and burn injuries represent 1% of the incidence of injuries and 2% of the total costs of injuries, or $7.5 billion each year. Hospitalization for fire and burn injuries totals $1 billion, or 1% of the total cost of all hospitalized injuries.
Finkelstein EA, Corso PS, Miller TR, Associates. Incidence and Economic Burden of Injuries in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press; 2006.
You have seen how fires devastate lives. Use your personal knowledge to show your community that even when there are no injuries or deaths it can take years to recover from a fire. The loss of a home, possessions and family treasures can haunt people, particularly children, for the rest of their lives.
Show how when fires occur in businesses, places of worship or schools the entire community suffers not just from the loss of services but also the effort to rebuild or replace them. Resources that could be used to improve communities must instead be used to restore them.
Fire impacts your community in other ways as well, including lost tax revenue, reduced tourism and business investment, downgraded bonds, reduced real estate values, and increased pressure on social services.
Although the trend is downward, prevention programs are essential to keeping them in that direction.