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NEWS
The Risk of Fire
October 1, 2009

A nationwide survey conducted by Bethesda, MD-based Society for Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) revealed that more Americans believe fire is the event most likely to cause harm to them or their family when compared to lighting strikes, hurricanes, earthquakes and floods. Forty-five percent of the survey respondents selected fire.

At the same time, only 18 percent of the respondents said they worry about the dangers of fire more than once a year.

Americans are more likely to be harmed by fire when compared to natural disasters. For example, although natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes are covered widely in the national news media, many more people die each year as a result of fire.

Each year in the United States there are over 1.5 million fires, many of which could be prevented. As a result, more than 3,000 people die and more than 17,000 are injured. Direct property loss due to fires is estimated to be over $10 billion. Additionally, more than 100 firefighters die in the line of duty.

Fire protection engineers devote their careers to protecting people, property and the environment from fire. They analyze how buildings are used, how fires start and grow, and how fires affect people and property. They use the latest technologies to design systems to control fires, alert people to danger, and provide means for escape. Fire protection engineers also work closely with other professionals, including engineers of other disciplines, architects, state and local building officials, and local fire departments to build fire safe communities.

The survey, commissioned by the SFPE and conducted in February, 2009 by Synovate, polled more than one thousand American adults. The findings have a margin of error of plus (+) or minus (-) three percent.


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