History of Fire and US Fire Problem
Fire occupancy classification refers to categorizing the type of fire occurrence based on its degree or impact. The impact of the fire classification is based on the degree of damage caused, the number of casualties coupled with the rating on the fire code. The amount of damage caused will also be determined by the grade of the building; business-class rated and education-rated buildings face most damages related to uncontrolled fire incidences. The sources of these fire incidences range from usual negligence incidences to the accidental causes. Negligence incidences are prosecutable according to the law, and the causative person(s) can even face first-degree murder charges. The examples of major fire occurrences in America history include:
- The great Chicago fire
- Our Lady of Angels Fire
- The Hartford Circus fire incident
- The Triangle Shirtwaist fire incident
The time of occurrence of these fire incidences does vary but in their own respect are considerable fire highlights. The Great Chicago Fire occurred on 8th October 1871 and lasted two consecutive days. It was a great disaster in Illinois considering that it burnt up 9.9km2 area, and at least 300 people were killed. Numerous people, about 100,000, were rendered homeless and economically paralyzed. The Our Lady of Angels School fire occurred on 1st December 1958 in Illinois which left more than 90 people dead (both students and staff). The Hartford Circus Fire incident transpired on 6th July 1944 in Connecticut. A large number was killed, about 170 and several injured. The Triangle Shirtwaist fire incident occurred on 25th March 1911 in New York. The factory fire instigated about 150 deaths and numerous fatalities.
The fire occurrences made noteworthy damages on the community and the places of occurrence. The degree of impact varied, but a lot of properties and a large number killed mainly due to uncouth fire detection measures. The Our Lady of Angels Fire is a typical scenario which was detected later when the fire had spread to the second floor. Fire detection devices, which were not existent then, could have sounded the alarm when the fire was still in the basement. Numerous numbers were killed, especially the Great Chicago Fire because of limited response and slow evacuation procedures. The slow evacuation procedures meant that a large number of people were exposed to the fire risk coupled with the inadequate response which gave the fire the ‘energy’ to continue raging.
The fire incidences taught prized lessons and experiences to the government and community. It leads to the updating of the Fire Code which is incorporated in vehicles, building and structural analysis before approval. The code stresses on incorporation of fire detection and safety devices in each floor and emergency exits. The emergency exits should not be obstructed to maintain accessibility. Also, these incidences unearthed the need to train the public about fire safety and management. This would ease the fire-fighters effectiveness as the public would be able to up-track the evacuation procedures before the arrival of the firefighters in a fire-related incident. These fire occurrences highlighted the problems to be tackled in detection, prevention and fighting fire outbreaks. The firefighting equipment was innovated to suit the current and greater fire incidences. These measures serve to improve human safety and evacuation during such incidences.
According to the US Fire statistics, the District of Columbia had the highest fire death rate of 24.7. Massachusetts and California states had the lowest fire death rates, at 6.2. Relative risk is a comparison of the per capita rate of the state and the overall per capita of the country. Connecticut had a relative risk of 0.9. It is difficult to compare the US fire death rate with other countries because of the clarity difference concerning the underlying cause of death for such cases.
The overall trend in residential buildings concerning the fires, deaths and injuries associated is 19.5%, 20.6% and 5.3% respectively in 2011. According to the Statistical Reports for School and University Fires, the major causes of fires in fraternity include Open flame, Cooking and Incendiary causes. The four major missions of US Fire Administration include:
- Collecting statistics about the various fire incidences
- Educating the public about fire safety
- Provide reliable research about fire, its management and prevention
- Offering training about tackling the fire incidences.
- The support branch of USFA provides reliable information and guidance about management of fire incidences.
The National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) is a reporting makeshift that provides and arranges the fire data and reports that are integral in management of future fire incidences.