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The Historical Progression of the Fire Problem in the United  States

The Historical Progression of the Fire Problem in the United  States

The Historical Progression of the Fire Problem in the United  States

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were 1,298,000 documented fires in the United States in 2014, which resulted in 3,275 civilian fatalities, 15,775 civilian injuries, 64 firefighter fatalities, 65,880 firefighter injuries, and $11.5 billion in property damage. Effective fire prevention and education programs can reduce the likelihood of big building fires, fire-related injuries and fatalities among civilians, firefighter injuries and fatalities, fire-related property damage, and economic interruption. There has been significant advancement throughout history when it comes to preventing fires. To increase fire prevention, new fire rules and fire protection technologies are established every year. The community’s leaders, including the mayor, city manager, city council, and police chiefs, have a duty to actively consider and be aware of the risks and expenses associated with failing to install the necessary fire protection systems in buildings as well as the risks and expenses associated with inadequate fire education.

The United States traditionally had one of the worst fire records in the Western World, which may come as a surprise (Diamantes, 2014). A reactionary mindset is considerably less effective than a proactive mindset while fighting a fire, as seen by patterns of reactivity followed by inaction in fire protection initiatives (Diamantes, 2014). The development of proactive firefighting strategies has been largely influenced by the insurance sector, which also contributed significantly to the creation of legislation (Diamantes, 2014). The second fire insurance company, Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses Loss by Fire, founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1752, would only offer insurance to well-built and well-maintained properties and perform periodic inspections of the properties, enhancing fire-safe construction, and promote general fire prevention practices (Diamantes, 2014). Since the 1970s, the United States has made progress in lowering the number of fire-related fatalities and injuries (with the aid of the 1973 study “America Burning” by the National Commission on Fire Prevention and Control). Governments, corporations, and other organizations have significantly improved fire prevention techniques today; despite these significant advancements, community leaders still need to work to instill the idea of fire prevention inside their neighborhoods (Diamantes, 2014).

Unfortunately, some communities do not pay adequate attention to fire education and fire prevention because of the high total expenditures. Sadly, this occurs because people misunderstand the hazards and expenses associated with fire incidents. Community leadership must be prepared to do a comprehensive risk analysis regarding fire prevention and education. A community risk analysis can assist city managers, and other local organizations in producing beneficial results for the community. According to Wikipedia, a community risk analysis is “a process that identifies fire and life safety problems and the demographic characteristics of those at risk in the community.” Diamonds (2014) Using this analysis tool, administrators can assess the benefits of implementing a new code or starting a new program inside their department against potential hazards. To properly conduct a community risk analysis, the USFA created a five-step process known as “Public Fire Education Planning” (Diamantes, 2014). The five steps of the process are as follows (Diamantes, 2014): 1. Identify data to be examined; 2. Create a community risk profile; 3. Formulate a problem statement; 4. Prioritize Issues; and 5. Identify target populations.

Finding reliable data sources is essential for conducting a full risk analysis; local, state, and national data comparisons must be considered (Diamantes, 2014). Data analysis must be done while looking at the data to show “what is occurring, who is being affected, and where they are located” (Diamantes, 2014). A demographic profile must be constructed using this data, which gives a description of the population and contains information on their age, income, gender, and other factors that are used to determine their requirements (Diamantes, 2014). Areas may be subject to both naturally occurring and dangers caused by people (Diamantes, 2014). Using hazardous materials, transportation, and manufacturing are only a few examples of human-created dangers (Diamantes, 2014). Natural risks include dangers from earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes (Diamantes, 2014). A risk profile can be produced by identifying the community’s significant risks (Diamantes, 2014). A risk profile can address the hazards facing the entire population or only a portion (Diamantes, 2014). An issue statement, the section of a community risk profile where a problem affecting the community is defined, can be created once this risk profile has been constructed (Diamantes, 2014). A problem statement gives a fact-based description of the issue, identifies its effects, and contains a plan for how the organization wants to address it, according to “Principles of Fire Prevention, Third Edition” (Diamantes, 2014). One of the many instruments at a local leader’s disposal is the Five-Step Analysis; it involves time and data analysis and incurs no outright expenses. A community risk analysis does not have direct costs to the community, but it is still an excellent tool for determining the community’s need for fire prevention. Unfortunately, direct costs are the cause of avoiding adequate fire prevention and education.

I will reiterate that according to the NFPA (2015), there were 3,275 civilian fatalities, 15,775 civilian injuries, 64 firefighter fatalities, 65,880 firefighter injuries, and $11.5 billion in property damage in 2014. Despite being high, these figures represent a decline from 1981, when the NFPA began keeping track of fire-related fatalities and injuries (NFPA, 2015). Due to advancements in firefighters’ understanding of fire behavior and their training in firefighting tactics, these numbers have significantly decreased and, ideally, will continue to decline.

Consequences of Ignoring Fire Education and Prevention

Increasing public awareness of fire through educational programs is a mitigating strategy contributing to lifesaving. Establishing the reason is less important than understanding fire behavior, providing suitable hazard education, and taking appropriate action in the event of an incident. People need to know what starts a fire, how to stay safe when one occurs, and how to act. Plans for evacuation and emergency calls are important components of the response and must be thoroughly understood. A vital principle that must be respected is the active engagement and involvement of all individuals, including all stakeholders. 2013 (Kolenkas, Ljatkovic, Milanko, & Krunic).


Kolenkas, I., Ljatkovic, M., Milanko, V., & Krunic, T. (2013). Application of information technologies in fire protection education. Online Journal of Applied Knowledge Management, 1(2), 78-84. Retrieved December 5, 2014, from

Diamantes, David. (12/2014). Principles of Fire Prevention, 3rd Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from


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Address the historical progression of the fire problem in the United  States. Identify and delineate several factors that help explain the disparity between the high aggregate fire costs for the nation,  states, and communities and lower perceptions of fire risks and costs.  What are the ramifications of ignoring fire prevention and education?

The Historical Progression of the Fire Problem in the United  States

The Historical Progression of the Fire Problem in the United States

Make sure to read Fire Death Rate Trends to help formulate your opinion.

You must use at least two sources for citations and include these sources in your APA formatted reference section.

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