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USFA Releases Report on Portable Heater Fires
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) has released a special report examining the characteristics of portable heater fires in residential buildings. The report, Portable Heater Fires in Residential Buildings (2008-2010), was developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center and is based on 2008 to 2010 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).
According to the report:
- An estimated 900 portable heater fires in residential buildings are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated 70 deaths, 150 injuries and $53 million in property loss.
- Only 2 percent of heating fires in residential buildings involved portable heaters, however, portable heaters were involved in 45 percent of all fatal heating fires in residential buildings.
- 52 percent of portable heater fires in residential buildings occurred because the heat source was too close to combustibles.
While portable heating fires were small in number, the consequences were substantial, accounting for nearly half of all fatal heating fires in residential buildings. Many of these fires were preventable as human error – placing the heater too close to combustible items or leaving the heater unattended – was a contributing factor to the fire.
To download this report, go to http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/statistics/v13i9.pdf. For further information regarding other topical reports or fire prevention, visit the USFA website at www.usfa.fema.gov.
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