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Great strides have been made in constructing fire resistant buildings, reducing the incidence of fires and improving fire suppression techniques. However, in terms of property losses, these advances have been somewhat offset by increases in the number and value of buildings. According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2010, on average, a fire department responded to a fire every 24 seconds in the United States. A structure fire occurs every 65 seconds; a residential fire occurs every 82 seconds; a vehicle fire occurs every 146 seconds.




U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 240 home Christmas tree fires each year, according to a 2011 report by the National Fire Protection Association based on 2005-2009 data. These fires are responsible for an average of 13 deaths, 27 injuries, and $16.7 million in direct property damage annually, according to the NFPA. For further information see theNFPA‘s holiday statistics.

For information about Holiday Safety and Preparedness, see our Pinterest board.


U.S. FIRE LOSSES, 2002-2011 (1)
Year Property loss ($ millions) Loss per capita
2002 $17,586 $61.14
2003 21,129 72.83
2004 17,344 59.23
2005 20,427 69.12
2006 20,340 68.17
2007 24,399 81.00
2008 24,734 81.34
2009 22,911 74.68
2010 20,486 66.22
2011 23,479 75.35

(1) Including allowances for FAIR Plan and uninsured losses.

Source: ISO, a Verisk Analytics company; Insurance Information Institute.

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  • Fire losses associated with homeowners insurance claims (including FAIR Plans) accounted for an estimated 55 percent of total fire losses in 2011.
  • Fire losses associated with commercial multiple peril claims accounted for an estimated 22 percent of total fire losses in 2011. Fire losses associated with fire insurance claims accounted for the remaining 24 percent.



STRUCTURE FIRES, 2002-2011 (1)
Year Number of fires Year Number of fires
2002 519,000 2007 530,500
2003 519,500 2008 515,000
2004 526,000 2009 480,500
2005 511,000 2010 482,000
2006 524,000 2011 484,500

(1) Includes public assembly, educational, institutional and residential structures, stores and offices, industry, utility, defense, storage and special structures.

Source: National Fire Protection Association.

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