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Fire Trends 2019 Report: Most Common Types of Fire Calls

ESO Staff

You most likely know what the most common types of calls your fire agency receives on a regular basis; much of it depends on your communities and their particular characteristics. But what you might not know is how that compares to other fire agencies across the nation… or how to use that information to improve procedures and performance in your own stations.

The truth is, there are several practical actions you can take to improve performance and outcomes. These are based on your knowledge of the most common calls faced by fire agencies across the country, including setting more specific benchmarks, preparing for high-risk/low-frequency calls, and staffing according to need.

Nationwide Stats

As an industry leader in fire, pre-hospital, and hospital industries, ESO encounters a wealth of data from its clients and partners. Each year, fire data is collected and analyzed to offer insights into the most pressing data trends being faced by fire agencies in the U.S. The goal is to assist fire agencies in setting more meaningful performance metrics, comparing themselves to national averages, setting the stage for future conversations and challenges, and inspiring agencies to use their own data to bring about real improvement.

The results of the analysis are found in the 2019 ESO Fire Trends Report, compiled from 638,979 calls, from January 1, 2019-June 30, 2019. From this data, five key topics were researched, including a deeper look into the most common type of fire incidents faced by agencies across the U.S.

Most Common Types of Fire Calls

When limited to fire incidents only (100 series), the data show the five most common fire response types were the following:

  • Building fires (25.3%)
  • Passenger vehicle fires (12.2%)
  • Outside rubbish, trash, or waste fires (10.1%)
  • Cooking fire confined to container (8.3%)
  • Brush or brush-and-grass mixture fires (7.1%)

Recommended Actions

Armed with this insight into the types of 100 series calls most likely to be faced by your team, you can take practical steps to ensure your department is always prepared. For example:

  • Have Current, Best Practice Guidelines and Procedures: Make sure you have current and best practice guidelines and procedures for your agency relating to SCBA, PPE, and responder decontamination following and on-going for these call types. This knowledge can help focus your training plans, keeping in mind that your crews are more likely to face specific concerns. Additionally, determine that all of your preplans are up-to-date and make any necessary changes ensuring your crews have access to them at all times and are fully prepared for any situation.
  • Target Your Outreach: If you are creating a community outreach plan, why not focus on the top most common fire topics to ensure the members of the public are educated. Whether it is helping install smoke alarms around your community, ensuring burn bans are publicized and followed, or educating the public on how excess trash and rubbish creates a fire hazard, simple steps can help reduce the most common calls you receive.
  • Fine-Tune Your Inspections: These data points are also good motivators to ensure your team is consistently conducting and recording accurate and complete site inspections, including photos and information on exits, onsite hazards, and fire suppression systems that can prove imperative during an incident. Information should be easy to record in a consistent manner by all team members conducting inspections. Similarly, it should be stored in a way that it can be accessed en-route or onsite of a fire, so that you can get a full picture with be overloaded by excess information or irrelevant distracting information.
  • Optimize Budget Discussions: Knowing how and where your resources are most commonly spent can help you make a case for additional training, equipment, or tools that will help in this area. Similarly, it can help an agency decide how to best allocate funds, based on types of call. For example, you may see that it is time to purchase additional SCBAs and PPE based on frequency of calls that and the data supports that need. Your own percentage breakdown of call type can help you make these decisions most efficiently.

In addition to insight into the most common types of calls received by fire departments, the 2019 ESO Fire Trends report covers four additional topics:

  • Percent of EMS calls vs. fire calls
  • Average first apparatus travel and turnout time
  • Most common property types for fire responses
  • Most common property type and documentation of total property loss

Download the full report now to learn more about these additional insights.

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