en-Gauge Fire and Life Safety Blog

Fire Extinguishers Extinguish an Estimated 5.32 Million Fires in US in 2010

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 10/17/11 11:52 AM

According to the most recent NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) data, in 2010 U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,331,500 fires. These fires resulted in 3,120 civilian fire fatalities, 17,720 civilian fire injuries and an estimated $15,478,000,000 in direct property loss.

Of these fires 98,000 were responded to in commercial or municipal buildings. Of the over $11.6 billion in property damage, more than $2.6 billion took place in these non-residential structures. This represents an average loss per reported incident in non-residential / commercial structures of over $34,000.

This only tells a portion of the fire story, however.

Fire Extinguishers Effectively Put Out 80% of All Fires

To highlight the effectiveness of extinguishers in the early stage fire fighting, a 2002 UK study performed by FETA (Fire Extinguishing Trades Association) and IFEDA (Independent Fire Engineering and Distributors Association)5 reviewed over 2100 fire incidents and found that in 80% of the cases a portable fire extinguisher successfully extinguished the fire and in 75% of those cases, the fire department was not required to attend.

A similar survey was conducted in 2002 by EUROFEU (European Committee of the Manufacturers of Fire Protection Equipment and Fire Fighting Vehicles)in 6 European countries and it found strikingly consistent results. In over 2600 incidents recorded it concluded that in 81.5% of cases the portable extinguisher successfully extinguished the fire and in 74.6% of the cases the fire department was not required to attend.
Extrapolating the results of these surveys to the U.S. market provides solid statistical evidence that in approximately 80% of all fire incidents a portable fire extinguisher is the only fire fighting tool needed to extinguish the fire. Further, they indicate that in 60% of all fire incidents the fire department is not notified (and thus the event would not appear in NFPA statistics).

Fire Extinguisher Success Rates (Estimated)

  • Fires Handled entirely by extinguishers with Fire Department not being notified = 1,997,250
  • Commercial Strucure fires handled entirely by exinguishers with Fire Department not being notified = 147,000
  • Estimated savings in avoided property loss in commercial buildings = 147,000 X $34,000 equals $4.998 Billion
  • Fires in which fire extinguishers were the only needed form of fire supression = 5,326,000
  • Fires in commercial structures in which extinguishers were the only needed form of fire suppression = 392,000

Although these are only estimates, these numbers make clear that the positive impact of fire extinguishers on society is tremendous.  When fire extinguishers are not available to do their job because they are blocked, missing or depressurized, the results can be deadly, catastrophic and costly.  en-Gauge's electronic fire extinguisher monitoring solution makes sure these vital life safety devices are available, accessible and working properly.

To learn why electronically monitored fire extinguishers are also the most environmentally friendly form of fire protection, check out this White Paper going over all the details.

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