Fire Hazard of the Contemporary American Home

by Robert E. Hanson

Institution: University of Maryland
Department: Fire Protection Engineering
Year: 2014
Record ID: 2044073
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1903/16114


Annual direct property damage for one- and two- family residential fires is estimated as $5.9 billion in the United States. Recent research has suggested that the level of fire hazard in contemporary homes is greater than legacy homes. This study utilizes national fire incident data from 2003 to 2010 to examine trends and characteristics of residential fires. The Item First Ignited and Heat Source for fires are analyzed in a risk model. Structural Member is the Item First Ignited that contributes the greatest amount of risk in one- and two- family houses. The Heat Source for Structural Member is concentrated among three main categories: Operating Equipment, Electrical Arcing, and Hot or Smoldering Objects. Grouping together the items Upholstered Sofas, Mattresses, and Bedding as representing soft furnishings in the house, contribute the second greatest amount of risk. The main Heat Source for these items is Other Open Flame or Smoking Materials