Friday, July 29, 2011

Disability and Fire



Annually, an estimated 1,700 residential building fires involving individuals with mental disabilities are reported to U.S. fire departments and cause an estimated 85 deaths, 250 injuries, and $61 million in total loss.  Additionally, there are an estimated 700 residential building fires involving individuals with physical disabilities that occur each year, resulting in 160 deaths, 200 injuries, and $26 million in property loss.

According to the reports, the majority of the residential building fires involving individuals with mental (62 percent) and physical (63 percent) disabilities occur in one- and two-family dwellings.  Cooking, at 22 percent, is the leading cause of residential fires where a physical disability is reported as a human factor contributing to the ignition of the fire.  This differs from the leading cause of residential fires where a mental disability is reported as a human factor contributing to ignition.  In these types of fires, intentional is the leading fire cause, at 40 percent.  Fire incidence involving individuals with disabilities occur most often in January and December.  In addition, these fires show a tendency to peak in the late afternoon to early evening hours.

The USFA has released the following two topical reports on residential building fires involving individuals with disabilities.
  1. Residential Building Fires Involving Individuals With Mental Disabilities
  2. Residential Building Fires Involving Individuals With Physical Disabilities