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Total Cost of Fire Up 38% from 1980: NFPA Reports $328 Billion Impact of Fire

The National Fire Protection Association has released an updated report on the Total Cost of Fire in the United States.

The total cost of fire in 2010, adjusted for inflation, is 38% higher than in 1980; its proportion of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) has declined by roughly one-third.

However, both the total cost of fire and total cost as percentage of GDP have been roughly steady for the past several years. The total cost of fire for 2010 is estimated at $328 billion, or roughly 2.2% of U.S. GDP.

The complete total cost of fire is defined as the sum of economic loss (e.g., property damage, business interruption), human loss (e.g., lives lost, medical treatment, pain and suffering) and the cost of provisions to prevent or mitigate the cost of fire (e.g., fire departments, insurance and fire protection equipment and construction).

Other key findings from the report:

  • Although the core total cost of fire has increased by 45% since 1980 to total $108.4 billion, the economic loss due to fire decreased by 29%, totaling $14.8 billion.
  • The total cost of direct property damages, reported or unreported, was $13.2 billion. This figure represents 89% of the economic loss. The other 11% represents indirect losses, such as business interruption.
  • Building construction expenses needed solely for the purposes of fire-safety and fire-protection considerations totaled $31.7 billion.
  • Human losses were estimated at $31.9 billion.

Download the full report (PDF) or a fact sheet (PDF) on the total cost of fire from NFPA's website.

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