When we think of accidents in the home, fires don’t always come to mind. However, fire safety is something that you should think about often. While fatalities caused by fires have decreased over the past decade, they still happen often. In 2015, there were 3,362 deaths caused by fires—nearly 10 per day.
In 2015, the District of Columbia had the highest death rate associated with fires, with a relative risk of 2.7 (relative risk compares the per capita rate of a particular group to the overall per capita rate). Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama also had high rates. California, Utah and Nevada had the lowest rates.
Types of Burns
Those who survive a fire are often left with serious injuries, such as burns. Burns range in severity from mild to severe, from first-degree to third-degree. A first-degree burn is the mildest burn and is characterized by redness on the outer layer of skin only.
A second-degree burn affects the outer and lower layer of skin. It is more painful and can cause swelling and blisters.
Third-degree burns are the most severe. They affect multiple layers of skin and may be white or black in appearance. The skin is charred and may be numb.
Causes of Fires
Fires in the home can happen in many ways. Many are caused by appliances and equipment, such as stoves, irons, washing machines, dryers, fans and air conditioners. Candles left unattended can also lead to fires, as can chemicals and gases. Household products and electronics have been known to malfunction and cause fires as well.
Tobacco products have also been known to cause fires. Ashes from cigarettes and cigars can hit floors and spark a fire.
Home fires tend to rise around the holidays. Christmas lights and decorations can cause heat on a tree and lead to a fire. The Fourth of July is also a prime time for house fires due to errant fireworks landing on homes or causing injuries to people who do not handle them properly.
In some cases, fires are caused by children. Some are accidents, such as young children playing with matches or the stove. Others, however, are intentionally caused by teens or adults and considered arson.
Burn Incidence Demographics
Based on burn center admission statistics from 2005-2014, the survival rate is high—nearly 97 percent. Men were the victims of most burns, at 68 percent vs. 32 percent of women. Fifty-nine percent of admissions were Caucasian, 20 percent were African-American, 14 percent were Hispanic and 7 percent were other races. An overwhelming majority of the fires happened in the home (73 percent). Eight percent happened in the workplace, 5 percent happened on the road, another 5 percent happened during recreation and 9 percent occurred in other ways.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Miami, Florida
Fires in the home can be a scary situation. They can grow rapidly, causing serious burns, breathing difficulties and even death.
While most fires are accidental, some are caused by someone else’s negligence. If you have been injured in a fire, you may be able to file a claim. Contact the Miami, Florida personal injury lawyers at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP to learn more. Call us at (305) 371-2692 or visit us online.