NFPA releases fact sheet summarizing key points within new Fire Safety in the U.S. Since 1980 research report; resource is designed for easy viewing and sharing

October 27, 2021 – The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released a new fact sheet highlighting some of the key takeaways in Fire in the United States Since 1980, Through the Lens of the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem, a seminal research report that was released earlier this year. The new at-a-glance resource conveys key insights from the 63-page report so that fire and life safety professionals can quickly see the progress that has been made over the decades since the America Burning report was published; address persistent challenges that remain; and use the new visual aid to spur discussions about the most pressing fire issues of today. 

The two-sided fact sheet is broken into five areas of focus: 

  • Success Factors
    • Smoke alarms
    • Standards
    • Stricter code requirements in certain occupancies
  • Key Findings
    • Cooking remains the leading cause of home fires and injuries
    • Smoking causes the most home fire deaths
    • Child fire deaths have declined while there has been little change in older adult death tolls
    • States with more disabled residents, smokers, impoverished residents, rural areas, and people of color have higher fire death rates
    • Wildfire is becoming the dominant source for catastrophic multiple deaths and large loss
  • Next Steps
    • Step up efforts to enhance cooking safety
    • Take action to protect most vulnerable citizens
    • Adopt a holistic safety approach so that new products and technologies do not cause unintended risk
    • Ensure that all levels of government are working to solve the wildfire problem
    • Educate the public on the role that they play in their own safety 
  • Major Takeaways
    • If a fire is reported in a home today, occupants are more likely to die due to flammable contents and more open design plans which increase the speed of fire
    • Nearly 3,000 home fire deaths are still far too many
    • Increasing the number of one- and two-family homes with fire sprinklers will help reduce death and destruction
  • The NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem
    • Government responsibility, development and use of current codes, and an informed public have had the greatest impact on the US fire experience 

“The Fire in the United States Since 1980, Through the Lens of the NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem report has garnered great attention in the four months since the new research was released, but we know that no matter how devoted fire and life safety practitioners are, staying up to speed on new findings and identifying ways to effectively engage key audiences can often be challenging,” NFPA Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy Lorraine Carli said. “Fact sheets allow us to break through the clutter and highlight key takeaways from longer reports in a way that is digestible, visual, and conducive to sharing on social media platforms and the web today. The information and insights on this fact sheet, not to mention within the report itself, can and should be used when discussing safety with the public and policy makers.” 

Last week, The Fire Protection Research Foundation, the research affiliate of NFPA, hosted a webinar with NFPA Research to help stakeholders understand both the headway that has been made with fire safety and modern day concerns by looking at various factors, data sets, and trends through the lens of The NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem™. Access the archived webinar here. There is also a dedicated landing page for this fact sheet, the report, and related content at 

For this release and other announcements about NFPA initiatives, research, and resources, please visit the NFPA press room.

NFPA®: 125 Years of Protecting People and Property

The National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®) is a global self-funded nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property, and economic loss due to fire, electrical, and related hazards. The association began its work to solve the fire problem in a young, industrialized nation in 1896 and is recognized around the globe as a leader in advocating for safety. NFPA delivers information and knowledge through more than 325 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach, and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. In celebration of its 125th Anniversary, NFPA will be hosting a Conference Series and other initiatives that reflect the steadfast commitment to advancing fire and life safety by the association for the next 125 years and beyond. For more information or to view NFPA codes and standards for free, visit

Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1-617-984-7275