Six per cent drop in calls
The Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) has an historical database which contains reports filed by fire departments on every fire call.
Municipal fire departments report to the OFMEM on every call they attend (fires and nonfires).
Total fires reported have been decreasing, even as the number of population and structures have been increasing.
From 2009 to 2013, the number of total calls reported – fire and non-fire calls – has decreased by six per cent from 484,625 incidents reported in 2009 to 455,007 in 2013.
Loss fires are defined as any fire with an injury, fatality or dollar loss reported.
All loss fires reported have declined from 12,945 in 2009 to 10,733 in 2013, a drop of 17%.
Structure fires are about 67% (2013) of the total fires with loss. There has been a decline from 8,286 in 2009 to 7,191 in 2013 a drop of 13 per cent.
Residential fires account for about 73 per cent of structure fire losses. These fires have also decreased from 5,914 in 2009 to 5,268 in 2012, a drop of 11 per cent.
From 2009 to 2013, there were 59,353 fires with loss reported to the OFMEM. – 47% of these fires occurred in residences – 27% occurred in vehicles.
– 13% of fires occurred on land, outdoor storage, and some structures ranging from barns to weather stations.
From 2009 to 2013, there were 38,532 structure fires with loss reported.
Fires in residential occupancies account for 72 per cent of structure loss fires.
Structure fires: Ignition source
Between 2009 and 2013 the ignition sources in other structure loss fires were: – 18% cooking; – 11% miscellaneous, which includes exposure
fires, natural causes, chemical reactions; – 9% heating/cooling; – 9% electrical distribution equipment – wiring; – 7% cigarettes; – 4% appliances; 4% other open flame tools
excluding matches, lighters; – 3% other electrical, mechanical; – 2% candles; 2% lighting; – 1% matches or lighters (excluding arson fires); – 1% processing equipment; About ten per cent of the structure loss fires were suspected to be arson or vandalism.
Comparing the average number of fire fatalities shows that structure fires ignited by cooking
appliances have declined.
Cooking 2009-2013: average of 1,357 fires per year, a decline of 6%.
Heating, cooling: average of 664 fires per year, a decline of 19%.
Electrical wiring, outlets: average of 677 fires per year, a decline of 16%.
Cigarettes: 530 fires per year, a decline of 3%.
Appliances: 341 fires per year, a decline of 9%.
From 2009 to 2013 there is decrease in the number of structure fires ignited by cooking equipment.
Most of these fires occur in residential structures – in 2013 - 90%.
Injuries have varied over this period from 187 in 2009 to a high of 247 in 2012 dropping again in 2013 to 219.
The number of fatalities in fires ignited by cooking equipment has steadily dropped over the past five years from a high of 13 in 2009 to a low of four in 2013.
From 2009 to 2012 the number of fires identified as ignited by electrical equipment declined from 726 to 633, a drop of 13% in the number of fires.
In 2013, 87% of fires started by lit smoking materials occurred in the home.
Cigarettes, are the number one ignition source in fatal fires.
The number of fatalities in fires started by lit smoking materials showed a significant downward trend from 30 fatalities in 1996 to 14 in 2002. Between 2009 and 2013 there was a range of seven to 22 deaths.
While the number of fires ignited by candles is small, it is the only ignition source that showed an increase in the number of fires to the year 2003. In 1995 there were 206 fires ignited by candles. By 2003 this had increased to 316, an increase of 54% when other ignition sources were on the decline. In 2008 candle fires dropped and continued to decline to 133 in 2012. 2013 saw an increase of 3 for a total of 136 fires reported.
Fires ignited by candles outnumber fires ignited by matches and lighters.
Arson accounts for 70% (2013) of the fires ignited by matches or lighters.
There was a 38% decrease in the number of these fires from 226 in 1996 to 140 in 2002, and a 38% decrease from a high of 100 fires in 2010 to 62 in 2013.