Fall/Winter Fire Safety Info
The threat of winter fires is real. Use these statistics to help your community understand how severe these fires can be.
- 890 people die in winter home fires each year.
- $2 billion in property loss occurs each year from winter home fires.
- Winter home fires account for only 8 percent of the total number of fires in the U.S., but result in 30 percent of all fire deaths.
- Cooking is the leading cause of all winter home fires.
- A heat source too close to combustibles is the leading factor contributing to the start of a winter home fire (15 percent).
- 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. is the most common time for winter home fires.
Source: National Fire Incident Reporting System 2010-2012
Facts about home heating fires
- From 2013-2015, an average of 45,900 home heating fires occurred in the United States each year. These fires caused an annual average of approximately 205 deaths, 725 injuries and $506 million in property loss.
- Heating was the second leading cause of home fires after cooking.
- Home heating fires peaked in the early evening hours between 5 and 9 p.m. with the highest peak between 6 and 8 p.m. This four-hour period accounted for 29 percent of all home heating fires.
- Home heating fires peaked in January (21 percent) and declined to the lowest point from June to August.
- Confined fires — fires confined to chimneys, flues or fuel burners — accounted for 75 percent of home heating fires.
- Twenty-nine percent of the nonconfined home heating fires — fires that spread past the object of origin — happened because the heat source (like a space heater or fire place) was too close to things that can burn.
Source: Heating Fires in Residential Buildings (2013-2015) PDF 713 KB
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide, also known as CO, is called the “Invisible Killer” because it's a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. More than 150 people in the Unites States die every year from accidental nonfire-related CO poisoning associated with consumer products, including generators. Other products include faulty, improperly-used or incorrectly-vented fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters and fireplaces. Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission
Know the symptoms of CO poisoning
Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission
Because CO is odorless, colorless, and otherwise undetectable to the human senses, people may not know that they are being exposed. The initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without the fever). They include:
- Shortness of breath
High level CO poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including:
- Mental confusion
- Loss of muscular coordination
- Loss of consciousness
- Ultimately death