May 2023

NFPA’s Fire Loss Statistics in the United States During 2021

Each year in September or October the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) publishes the annual fire loss report in the US for the year prior. The 2021 report was published in September 2022 with a revision provided in October.

There have been some significant large warehouse fires in the past few years as referenced in our Risk Insurance Briefs (RIBs),  and critical loss lessons noted in our April 2023 technical article (4 Critical Loss Lessons from Large Warehouse Fires – Risk Logic).

These large fire losses resulted in significant property damage and business interruption, as well as the loss of many jobs.

According to the NFPA Fire Loss Report for 2021:

  • A fire department responded to a fire somewhere in the U.S. every 23 sec.
  • A total of 1,353,500 fires were attended by public fire departments. This is  ~35,000 less than 2020, and ~1,540,000 less than 1981.
  • Of the total, 486,500 were structure fires  which is ~4,000 less than 2020.
  • 361,000 (74%) of structure fires  occurred in residential buildings , which is 18,500 (5%) less than 2020.
  • A civilian death occurred on average every two hours and 18 minutes, totaling to 3,800  deaths: 300 (+9%) more than 2020 .
  • 3,010 civilian deaths  occurred during structure fires, which is 280 (+10%) more than 2020.
  • 2,840 of the civilian deaths occurred  in residential buildings:260 (+10%) more than 2020.
  • Property damage as a result of fires totaled to  $15.9 billion: $6 billion less than 2020 that had significant damage from wildland fires.
  • Property damage as a result of structure fires was $12.8 billion.
  • Property damage figures do not include business interruption.

Home structure fires occurred every 93 seconds, in total costing $8.7 billion in damages, which isa 4% increase from 2020.

Non-residential structure fires (125,500; increase of 14,500 from 2020) totaled $3.6 billion in property damages, which isa 5% increase from 2020.

Properly designed and well-maintained automatic sprinkler protection is the best form of protection against a fire. Sprinkler protection can protect corporate assets, earnings, and  jobs.

Please contact Risk Logic as we are experts in the field of Property Loss Prevention. We can review automatic sprinkler protection systems to determine if they are adequately designed for the storage that is provided in your facility.

Reference Document:

NFPA report – Fire loss in the United States