Report charts fire deaths by state

SSN Staff  - 
Sunday, December 1, 2002

QUINCY, Mass. - A state-by-state analysis of fire death patterns by the National Fire Protection Association shows fire deaths have dramatically decreased since the 1980s, but death rates vary greatly depending on the state.

According to the study, "Fire Loss in the United States," death from fire declined to 3,347 in 1999 from 5,804 in 1980. States with the highest death rates in 1999 were Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Carolina and West Virginia. States with the lowest death rates were New Hampshire, Hawaii, Utah, Colorado and California.

The study shows the differences between states vary by the characteristics of the population. States with a larger number of adults lacking a high school education, who smoke or who are poor, experienced a higher death rate by fire.

"What this study shows is that fire deaths can be prevented. They're not inevitable," said John Hall Jr., from NFPA's fire analysis and research division and the report's author.

The study of fire deaths by state was drawn from a national database of death certificates collected by the National Center for Health Statistics.