In the United States, fires and burns are the third leading cause of home fatalities, with the US ranked 8th among the top 25 developed countries. Despite a drop in the number of fatal accidents over the last decade, there are still many preventable accidents. It is our goal to increase general awareness, so here are some statistics and that will help prevent burn injuries.

General Statistics From the American Burn Association

  • 450,000 Burn Injuries Receive Medical Treatment Every Year
  • There are around 3,400 Fire/Burn/Smoke Inhalation Deaths Per Year

This total includes 2,550 deaths from residential fires, 300 from vehicle crash fires, and 550 from other sources (approximately 150 deaths from flame burns or smoke inhalation in non-residential fires, 400 from contact with electricity, scalding liquids or hot objects).  Fire and burn deaths are combined because deaths from burns in fires cannot always be distinguished from deaths from toxic smoke or other non-burn causes. Sources: National Fire Protection Association (2011 Fire Loss Report); National Safety Council (2012 Injury Facts, based on 2008 data, the latest available from the National Vital Statistics System).        

  • 40,000 burn victims are hospitalized each year with 30,000 of those being admitted into hospital burn centers.

Over 60% of the estimated U.S. acute hospitalizations related to burn injury were admitted to 127 burn centers. Such centers now average over 200 annual admissions for burn injury and skin disorders requiring similar treatment. The other 4,500 U.S. acute care hospitals average less than 3 burn admissions per year. Sources: National Inpatient Sample (HCUP-NIS: 2010 data); National Hospital Discharge Survey (2010 data); recent 100% hospitalization data from several states.

Source

Burn Victim Statistics for 2012-2013

  • Survival Rate:  96.6%
  • Gender:  69% male, 31% female
  • Ethnicity:  59% Caucasian, 20% African-American, 14% Hispanic, 7% Other
  • Admission Cause:  43% fire/flame, 34% scald, 9% contact, 4% electrical, 3% chemical, 7% other
  • Place of Occurrence:  72% home, 9% occupational, 5% street/highway, 5% Recreational/Sport

CDC Occurrence and Consequence Statistics

  • On average in the United States in 2010, someone was killed in a fire every 169 minutes, and someone was injured every 30 minutes.
  • About 85% of all U.S. fire deaths in 2009 occurred in homes.
  • In 2010, fire departments responded to 384,000 home fires in the United States, which claimed the lives of 2,640 people (not including firefighters) and injured another 13,350, not including firefighters.
  • Most victims of fires die from smoke or toxic gases and not from burns.
  • Cooking is the primary cause of residential fires.
Source

Cost Statistics

  • Fire and burn injuries represent 1% of the incidence of injuries and 2% of the total costs of injuries, or $7.5 billion each year.
  • Males account for $4.8 billion (64%) of the total costs of fire/burn injuries.
  • Females account for $2.7 billion (36%) of the total costs of fire/burn injuries.
  • Fatal fire and burn injuries cost $3 billion, representing 2% of the total costs of all fatal injuries.
  • Hospitalized fire and burn injuries total $1 billion, or 1% of the total cost of all hospitalized injuries.
  • Non-hospitalized fire and burn injuries cost $3 billion, or 2% of the total cost of all non-hospitalized injuries.

Groups at Risk

Groups that are at a high risk of burn injury or fatality are:

  1. Children 4 and under
  2. Older Adults ages 65 and older
  3. African Americans and Native Americans
  4. The poorest Americans
  5. Persons living in rural areas
  6. Persons living in manufactured homes or substandard housing

Risk Factors

  • 37%  of home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms.
  • Most residential fires occur during the winter months.
  • Alcohol use contributes to an estimated 40% of residential fire deaths.

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Personally reviewed by attorney Ken Christensen

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