If you’re a residential property manager, keeping your tenants and properties safe from fires is a top concern. This would be especially true if you manage multi-family buildings, where a fire in just one unit could spread and endanger a whole building and its residents.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recently released their 2017 Fact Sheet on home structure fires, which compiles and analyzes data from 2,605 fire departments from around the United States. Using this information, property managers, HOAs, and residents can work together to reduce the risk of fires in homes and apartment complexes.
The five most common causes of fires reported by the NFPA were
- Cooking equipment (46%),
- Heating equipment (16%),
- Electrical and lighting equipment (9%),
- Arson/fires set intentionally (8%), and
- Smoking materials (5%).
It’s important to note that while cooking fires made up almost half of all residential fires, it wasn’t the most dangerous fire on the list. Despite causing only 5% of residential fires, fires caused by smoking accounted for a disproportionate 22% of all house fire–related deaths. The NFPA also noted in their report that “smoking has been the leading cause of home fire deaths for decades.” By way of comparison, both cooking fires and heating equipment fires caused 19% of all house fire–related deaths, each.
Other important facts on house fires include the following:
- Of all cooking methods, frying poses the greatest risk of fire.
- Wood stoves and portable and fixed space heaters were more likely to be culprits in heating equipment–related fires than central heating.
- Residential sprinkler systems reduce the house fire death rate by about 80%. The NFPA strongly encourages home sprinkler systems.