Americans Have Alarming Misconceptions About Fire Safety

Photo: Missouri Department of Public Safety
Photo: Missouri Department of Public Safety

A recent nationwide survey conducted by Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) revealed that 65% of Americans feel safer from the dangers of fire at home. Only 10% feel safer in a commercial or public building.

“This is an alarming misconception,” said Chris Jelenewicz, SFPE’s program manager. “Actually, fires in dwellings account for the majority of life loss due to fire.”

Federal government statistics report that in 2011, residential fires resulted in 2,450 deaths and 13,900 injuries. Non-residential building fires resulted in 80 deaths and 1,100 injuries.

Additionally, the survey revealed that 57% of Americans believe changes in materials used for furnishings and building materials over the last 25 years make them feel safer in their homes. At the same time only 4% of the respondents felt less safe.

“This is another misconception,” said Jelenewicz. “In fact research has demonstrated that at least in North America, changes in materials used for furnishings, building materials and components, and construction methods have resulted in the potential for an increased level of hazard from an accidental dwelling fire.”

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted January 23-26, 2013. For this survey, a national sample of 1,000 adults aged 18 and older from Ipsos’ U.S. online panel who have agreed to participate in Ipsos studies were interviewed online.