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The Cost of Fires in the United States

The cost of fires in the US

Fires not only claim many lives and cause many injuries each year, but the financial cost of fires is staggering. The cost of fires can be measured in many ways, including:

  • Structural costs to buildings
  • New building costs
  • Costs of fire fighters and equipment needed
  • Cost to replace contents of homes and buildings
  • Lost earnings by companies whose buildings are destroyed
  • Temporary relocation of families whose homes have been destroyed

Assessing all costs due to fire prevention and destruction are difficult, and depend upon a number of assumptions and decisions as to what items should be included in the final cost, such as whether preventative measures (such as costs related to employing firefighters) should be included. One estimate of the cost of fires in the United States puts the total figure at $328 billion for 2011,[1] which includes the costs related to employing firefighters.

Fire Costs All of Us

It’s easy to think that we may not have had any fire-related costs if a fire has not happened to us. But this is not the case.

All of us incur fire costs every year. We pay for insurance that will protect our home in the event of a fire. Our premiums are calculated based on many factors, including fires deliberately set by others as part of insurance fraud.

We also must pay the cost of employing firefighters and buying equipment to protect our communities and keep us safe. Fortunately, with increases in technology and methodology for fire suppression, we have reason to be optimistic that the actual cost of destruction and new building costs associated with fires will decrease in the future.

[1] National Fire Protection Association, Total Cost of Fire, //

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