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America’s ‘Fire Problem’: Myth or Reality? continued for an overall increase of 431 percent. When property loss is adjusted for inflation, however, the increase in the average structure fire loss between 1977 and 2014 is 35.2 percent.11 Figure 3 illustrates the trends in reported property loss. WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED? What do the data tell us about fire protection and prevention strategies? Unfortunately, not much. A literature search finds almost no scientific research that explains why U.S. fire incidence and trends appear the way they do. That alone is a problem. Without data, as Edward Deming said, all we have left are opinions. Has better public fire safety education resulted in fewer fire incidents by changing human behavior? Have socio-economic factors improved Americans’ attention to protecting their lives and property? Have improvements in building codes and fire code enforcement made a difference? Have new construction materials and consumer products helped reduce the number of fires? Everyone seems to have an opinion, but there are very few facts to support them. According to Hilton Hynes, author of the NFPA report, Fire Loss in the U.S. During 2014, “In conclusion, although the frequency of fire incidents is going down, the risk of death and property loss remains relatively constant when the fire incident occurs.”12 So, does America have a fire problem? You’ve seen the data; you decide. 1Police find seventh body after Silver Spring apartment fire, explosion 2Huge fire causes half million dollars in damage 3NFPA’s Fire Loss in the United States During 2014 4Brushlinsky, N.N., Ahrens, M., Sokolov, S.V. & Wagner, P. (2016, No. 21). “World Fire Statistics”, p. 22. 5Ibid. 6Ibid, p. 4. www.ctif.org/sites/default/files/ctif_report21_world_fire_statistics_2016.pdf 7United States Fire Administration (2016). “Facts about NFIRS”. www.usfa.fema.gov/data/nfirs/about/ index.html 8National Fire Protection Association (March 26, 2014). “Workshop Report: Today and Tomorrow’s Data”, p. 18. 9Ibid, p. 55. 10Kramarow, E., Chen, L., Hedegaard, H, & Warner, M. (2015) “Deaths from Unintentional Injuries Among Adults Aged 65 and Over: United States 2000–2013.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, NCHS Dara Brief, No. 199. 11Hynes, Hilton J.G. (2014). “Fire Loss in the U.S. during 2014.”, p. 19. 12Ibid, p. 33. OCTOBER 2016 | 30 —*ADVERTISEMENT— INTERNATIONAL ACCREDITATION SERVICE Approve Fabricators with Confidence Ask for IAS Fabricator Accreditation Four IAS Accreditation Programs Meet IBC Chapter 17 Requirements 1. Steel Fabricator Accreditation AC172 2. Metal Building Fabricator Accreditation AC472 3. Concrete Fabricator Accreditation AC157 4. Wood Wall Panel Fabricator Accreditation AC196 1-866-427-4422 | www.iasonline.org/fabricator 15-11970 IAS is a subsidiary of ICC


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