National and international fire statistics

Most of the industrialized countries publish fire statistics, which are mainly compiled by national state administrations, fire protection associations, fire brigades, insurance companies and associations. The contents and the topics addressed may therefore be quite different from state to state and often not comparable.   

Attempts have been made to publish international fire statistics. The most well-known organization is the International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics in Geneva (Geneva Association), which publishes world fire statistics[1]. The main focus of its work, the collection, analysis and dissemination of internationally comparable fire cost statistics, is thus seen as a means to persuading governments to adopt coherent fire strategies aimed at reducing national fire costs.  

The most advanced fire statistics are published by the USA and the United Kingdom.  In the USA, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), as an entity of the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency, has the mission to provide national leadership to foster a solid foundation for fire and emergency services stakeholders in prevention, preparedness, and response. Fire statistics are regularly published[2].

The U.S. National Fire Protection Association NFPA, established in 1896, is a nonprofit organization with the objective to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, and publishing comprehensive fire statistics[3].

In the United Kingdom, the UK Statistics Authority publishes every year the National Statistics and analyzes in detail fires, casualties, and false alarms attended by the Fire and Rescue Services[4].

Other countries only publish less comprehensive fire statistics; this may be due to missing governmental support, scattered fire statistics issued by Federal states, towns, fire brigades, and insurances. So, in Germany statistics with deaths from fire and flames with no further details on causes are published by the German Federal Statistical Agency under "health"[5].     

 In light of the worldwide fire safety and prevention activities, this situation is highly unsatisfactory. Recently, the Technical Committee 92 Fire Safety of the International Standards Organization ISO[6] has discussed a new work item, ISO/TC 92 NWI: Statistics, which, to the benefit of mankind, may help to coordinate and harmonize fire statistics on a world scale in the future.