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Home fire deaths hit 14 year high in the US across 2021

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The latest Fire Loss in the US report released by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has revealed that 2021 saw the largest number of home fire deaths since 2007, reflecting a 14-year high.

According to the report, people are more likely to die in a reported home fire today than they were in 1980. While the number of US home fires has continued to decline over time, the home fire death rate has stagnated in recent years, with annual spikes like the most recent one seen in 2021. 

According to NFPA data, home is where people are at greatest risk of fire, with three-quarters (75 percent) of all US fire deaths occurring in homes.

Lorraine Carli, vice president of the Outreach and Advocacy division at NFPA, commented: “While we’ve made great strides in reducing the public’s risk to fire on many fronts, the latest number of home fire deaths reinforces that today’s home fires present real challenges.

“Educating the public about the increased speed at which today’s home fires grow, along with the importance of knowing how to escape quickly and safely, is critical to reducing that risk.”

This week the NFPA celebrates the 100th anniversary of Fire Prevention Week  with the theme, “Fire won’t wait. Plan your escape.” which reinforces the potentially life-saving importance of home escape planning and practice.

Carli continued: “To many, the concepts of home escape planning and practice may sound so simple that their value is underestimated, but the reality is that these advance preparations can truly mean the difference between life and death in a home fire – now more than ever.

“Ask anyone who’s experienced a home fire and they will tell you how dark, scary, and disorienting a home fire can become within moments. Having a practiced plan with all members of the household builds the muscle memory needed to get out as quickly and safely as possible.”

The following are key messages behind this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme:

  • Make sure your home escape plan meets the needs of all your family members, including those with sensory or physical disabilities.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed inside every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home. Smoke alarms should be interconnected so when one sounds, they all sound.
  • Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible. Make sure all doors and windows open easily.
  • Have an outside meeting place a safe distance from your home where everyone should meet.
  • Practice your home fire drill at least twice a year with everyone in the household, including guests. Practice at least once during the day and at night.

To learn more about Fire Prevention Week, visit

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