For the Record 7/13

Fire Officials Selected for Harvard Program

U.S. Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell has announced that four senior fire officials will receive fellowships to attend the Harvard University’s Senior Executives in State & Local Government Program this summer at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. The 19-day program includes other state and local government leaders from across the United States and other countries with a focus on exploring the interrelationships between citizens and government, analyzing policy options and examining the ethical and professional responsibilities of exercising leadership.

Those selected are:

  • Joel Baker, Deputy Chief, Atlanta (GA) Fire-Rescue Department
  • Phil Eagleson, Fire Chief, Town of Saugeen Shores-Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada
  • Michael Romas, Assistant Chief, Milwaukee (WI) Fire Department
  • Derrick Sawyer, Deputy Commissioner, Philadelphia (PA) Fire Department

Fellowships for this program are provided by Fire Protection Publications (FPP)/International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) administered the competitive selection process and coordinated the final phase which took place at USFA’s National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, MD.



USFA Releases Residential Building Fires (2009–2011)

According to a new report from the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), from 2009 to 2011, fire departments responded to an estimated 360,900 fires in residential buildings each year across the nation. These fires resulted in an annual average of 2,495 deaths, 13,250 injuries and $7 billion in property losses.

Findings from this report:

  • Cooking was the leading cause of residential building fires (46 percent). Nearly all residential building cooking fires were small, confined fires (94 percent).
  • Residential building fires occurred most frequently in the early evening hours, peaking during the dinner hours from 5 to 8 p.m., when cooking fires are high.
  • Nonconfined residential building fires most often started in cooking areas and kitchens (22 percent).
  • In 48 percent of nonconfined residential building fires, the fire extended beyond the room of origin. The leading causes of these larger fires were electrical malfunctions (16 percent), unintentional or careless actions (16 percent), intentional (12 percent) and open flame (11 percent).
  • Smoke alarms were not present in 22 percent of the larger nonconfined fires in occupied residential buildings. This is a high percentage when compared to the 3 percent of households lacking smoke alarms nationally.

To download a PDF of the report, go to