Local Fire Department Responses to Fires Involving Automobiles, Buses, and Larger Trucks: 2006-2010 Estimates 2013-01-0210
Automobile fires account for the majority of vehicle fires and vehicle fire deaths. Fires involving larger trucks resulted in a disproportionate share of vehicle fire losses. Although bus fires are less common, they have a much higher rate of fire based on distance driven. Bus fires have the potential to endanger a larger number of passengers. Any efforts to evaluate the merits of proposed fire safety improvements require an understanding of how many fires and deaths are presently occurring and how many might be prevented with the proposed improvements. Data from the U.S. Fire Administration's National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA's) fire department survey were used to estimate the frequency and associated losses of such fires attended by local U.S. fire departments, and the major factors in these fires and losses. The risk of these fires and of automobile deaths overall and from fires resulting from collision or overturn per billion kilometers driven are also included. The majority of these vehicle fires resulted from mechanical or electrical problems, but three out of every five automobile fire deaths resulted from fires associated with collision or overturn.