For the Record 6/12

USFA Reports Focus on Residential Building Fires, Injuries

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) issued two special reports related to Residential Fires (both of which can be found in their entirety on our website at reports state that:


  • An estimated 365,500 residential building fires are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated 2,560 deaths, 13,000 injuries, and $7.4 billion in property loss.
  • Seventy-six percent of all civilian fire injuries occurred as a result of fires in residential buildings.
  • Cooking is the leading cause of residential building fires (45 percent) and the primary cause (30 percent) for residential building fires that resulted in injuries.
  • Residential building fires occur most frequently in the early evening hours, peaking during the dinner hours from 5 to 8 pm, when cooking fires are high.
  • The leading human factor contributing to injuries in residential building fires was being asleep (55 percent).
  • Residential building fire incidence is higher in the cooler months, peaking in January at 11 percent.


The significance of these findings, according to “The Fire Scene” columnist John J. Salka, is that fires in our homes are statistically and literally the most dangerous fire threat we all face. What most folks don’t realize is that your greatest danger of being injured or killed in a fire is right in your own home. Further, if you look at the findings of this report, you will see that the kitchen is again the most frequent location for these fires to start during cooking. One action that everyone should take is to maintain a properly rated fire extinguisher for their kitchen. A small “ABC” extinguisher kept in a kitchen cabinet can make the difference between a small stovetop fire and a full-blown kitchen fire. Other items to consider would be to keep an eye on all active stovetops and have a cover available for any pan that is being used, which can be quickly used to cover and extinguish any flames that might erupt in the pan. These simple precautions should keep you and your family “safe and sound” in your home. 


EMS Medical Directors Handbook Released

The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), in partnership with the DHS Office of Health Affairs (OHA), has released a handbook for physician medical directors of local departments and agencies who are involved in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) response. The Handbook for EMS Medical Directors covers topics ranging from occupational health and safety to liability issues.

“This handbook provides an overview of key roles and responsibilities to assist current and prospective medical directors in performing their important missions,” said U.S. Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell.

To download a PDF of this handbook, go to


APCO Salutes Public Safety Alliance

The Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International honored the recipients of the 2012 Public Safety Leadership in Policy Awards at its 8th Annual Leadership in Policy Awards Dinner in Washington, DC, on May 15. Among those honored were U.S. Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman and leaders from each of the Public Safety Alliance (PSA) partner organizations. The Awards Dinner commemorates leaders in public safety communications who are outstanding advocates for the industry and advance all aspects of public safety policy.

APCO added a special category this year to mark the monumental achievements of the PSA, who helped secure legislation that changed the landscape of public safety communications. The PSA successfully advocated for, and secured legislation that allocated the D Block spectrum for public safety and $7 billion in funding. It also created FirstNet, an independent agency within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which will ensure the development of a nationwide public safety broadband network. 

For a full list of winners, please visit



FEMA Appoints New EMI Superintendent 

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region VI Administrator Tony Russell has taken over as the Superintendent of FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI). As Region VI Administrator, Russell has been responsible for the oversight of FEMA operations in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. He previously served as the Acting Director of FEMA’s Louisiana Recovery Office and as a Federal Coordinating Officer for FEMA Region VIII.

“I’m confident that Tony is the right person to take on this important role,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “The emergency management training that takes place at EMI is critical to the FEMA mission and with Tony’s leadership, I’m confident that we will continue to educate and train the country’s finest emergency managers.”

For more information on this appointment, go to


FEMA Releases National Preparedness Report

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its partners released the 2012 National Preparedness Report (NPR) identifying significant progress the nation has made in areas of prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery. Overall, the report found that the nation has increased its collective preparedness, not only from external threats, but also for natural and technological hazards.

“This report illustrates areas of national strength to include planning, operational coordination, intelligence and information sharing and other response related capabilities,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “As we continually assess and aim to meet the full vision of the National Preparedness Goal, we must continue to build on the significant progress to date and address identified opportunities for improvement.”

 The NPR reflects how the nation has made significant progress addressing opportunities for improvement identified after events such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. If you want to download this report, go to