Burn Injuries by the Numbers: Understanding the Statistics

1. Approximately 450,000 individuals in America experience burn injuries each year that necessitate medical burn care as a result of their severity.

2. In 2021, there were a recorded  1,353,500 fire incidents, which sadly led to 3,800 civilian fatalities and 14,700 injuries.

3. Ranges or cooktops were involved in 61 percent of reported home cooking fires, 87 percent of cooking fire deaths, and 79 percent of cooking fire injuries.

4. Cooking sparks the highest number of reported home fires, leaving behind a trail of devastating injuries and tragic deaths.

5. In 2021, on average, fire departments responded to a structure fire every 23 seconds, a structure fire death occurred every 3 hours and 8 minutes, and a structure fire injury occurred every 47 minutes.

6. Fifteen percent of fire deaths were attributed to vehicle fires.

7. Each year, approximately 10,600 home fires are caused by grills.

8. According to statistics, thermal injuries account for approximately 86% of burns, while electrical burns account for about 4%, chemical burns account for 3%, and the remaining 7% are classified as other types of burns.

9. Burns from hot tap water account for a substantial number of fatalities and hospitalizations in comparison to burns caused by other hot liquids.

10. Each year, burns and fires result in the loss of nearly 4,500 lives, ranking them as the fourth leading cause of accidental death.

Fire Statistics in the United States Infographic

About 450,000 people in America each year need medical burn care for severe burns.

Burns are one of the most painful and debilitating injuries a person can suffer. Each year, around 450,000 people in America suffer burn injuries that require medical burn care due to their severity.

These burns can be caused by many different sources, such as fire, hot liquids, steam, or chemicals. It is estimated that over 3,400 people die each year from burn-related injuries in the United States. [1]


In 2021, there were 1.35 million fire incidents, resulting in 3,800 fatalities and 14,700 injuries.

In 2021, the grim reality of fire incidents became evident with a staggering 1.35 million cases reported. These devastating events had far-reaching consequences, claiming the lives of 3,800 individuals and leaving 14,700 individuals with severe injuries.

The alarming numbers shed light on the urgent need for improved fire safety measures and heightened awareness in order to prevent further tragedies and protect the well-being of communities worldwide.

Every 23 seconds, a fire department in the United States responds to a fire somewhere in the nation. These fires resulted in the deaths of 3,800 people and injuries to 14,700 more, which results in $15.9 billion in property damage. [2]

fire injury

Ranges or cooktops caused the majority of home cooking fires, deaths, and injuries.

In our daily lives, the risk of burn injuries is ever-present, especially in the kitchen. According to statistics, ranges or cooktops accounted for a significant portion of home cooking fires.

These incidents resulted in contact burns, causing severe injuries and even fatalities. In fact, these cooking fires were responsible for 87 percent of cooking fire deaths and 79 percent of cooking fire injuries.

When facing severe burns, individuals may require specialized care at a burn center, where they can receive comprehensive treatment and support. However, the road to recovery from burn injuries can be financially burdensome, with treatment costs encompassing medical procedures, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitative therapies.

It is necessary to prioritize fire safety measures and exercise caution when using barbecue pits and kitchen appliances to minimize the risk of severe burns and their subsequent impact on individuals’ lives. [3]

Home Cooking Fire Statistics

Cooking caused the most home fires, injuries, and deaths.

Cooking, while an essential and everyday activity, poses significant dangers in terms of fire incidents. It is the leading cause of home fires, resulting in numerous injuries and even fatalities.

To mitigate the risks associated with cooking, smoke detectors play a valuable role. These devices, when functioning properly, can provide early warnings and help prevent the spread of fires.

However, even with the presence of working smoke detectors, there remains a common type of fire-related injury that can occur: major burn injuries. These types of burns can be severe, leading to life-altering consequences and, in some cases, a high risk of mortality.

During the period from 2017 to 2021, an annual average of 158,400 home cooking fires took place in residences across the United States, leading to 470 fatalities, 4,150 injuries, and direct property damage amounting to $1.15 billion. [4]


In 2021, fire departments responded to frequent structure fires, resulting in numerous deaths and injuries.

The statistics concerning fire incidents in 2021 serve as a stark reminder of the ongoing fire safety challenges we face. Fire departments were called to respond to a structure fire approximately once every 23 seconds during that year.

Unfortunately, the impact of these fires was devastating, with a structure fire death occurring approximately every 3 hours and 8 minutes, while a structure fire injury took place every 47 minutes.

One significant factor contributing to these incidents is the use of cigarette lighters, which can easily ignite fires if mishandled or left unattended. Unfortunately, this poses a particular risk for children, who are more vulnerable to burn injuries.

When children suffer burn injuries, surgical treatment may often be needed to address the severity of the damage. The elderly population also faces heightened risks when it comes to fire incidents due to factors such as mobility issues or cognitive impairments.

Efforts to decrease smoking and promote fire safety practices can make a significant difference in minimizing the occurrence of these incidents and protecting both young children and the elderly population from the devastating consequences of burn injuries.

These fires resulted in significant losses, including 3,010 civilian fire deaths (79 percent), 12,600 civilian fire injuries (86 percent), and $12.7 billion in direct property damage (80 percent). This equates to a death occurring every 3 hours and 8 minutes and an injury occurring every 41 minutes. [5]


Vehicle fires were responsible for a staggering fifteen percent of fire-related fatalities.

In 2021, there were approximately 208,500 vehicle fires, resulting in 680 civilian fire deaths, 1,500 civilian fire injuries, and $2.1 billion in direct property damage.

Vehicle fires have emerged as a distressing contributor to fire-related fatalities, accounting for a significant fifteen percent of such cases. These tragic incidents not only result in severe injuries but also have a profound impact on the quality of life for those affected.

For survivors of vehicle fires, immediate and proper medical attention is needed. This often entails being transported to specialized facilities, such as burn centers, equipped with the necessary expertise and resources to treat burn injuries.

The cost of healthcare services, including emergency response and long-term rehabilitation, can place a strain on health spending.

However, prioritizing adequate health spending is essential to ensure that individuals affected by vehicle fires receive the appropriate care and support needed to restore and improve their quality of life.

By addressing the consequences of these incidents, both physically and emotionally, and investing in appropriate care facilities, we can strive towards minimizing the devastating effects of vehicle fires and enhancing the overall well-being of survivors. [6]

Vehicle Fire Statistics

Around 10,600 home fires are caused by grills each year.

Each year, the use of grills contributes to a significant number of home fires, with approximately 10,600 incidents reported. These fires can result in a range of injuries, with severe burn injuries being a common type.

The combination of heat, open flames, and flammable products used during grilling poses a unique risk. In addition to burn injuries, smoke inhalation can also occur, especially in enclosed spaces or poorly ventilated areas.

Prompt medical care is crucial for those affected, as burn injuries and smoke inhalation can have serious health consequences. Treatment for these types of injuries may require specialized medical care, such as wound management, respiratory support, and rehabilitation, to aid in the recovery process.

By promoting fire safety measures and raising awareness about the risks associated with grilling, we can work towards reducing the incidence of home fires and the associated severe injuries, ultimately safeguarding the well-being of individuals and preventing the need for extensive medical care. [7]

According to the statistics from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s U.S. Fire Administration, a significant portion of home grill fires occurs between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., with the majority happening during the summer months of May to August when grills are commonly used. Furthermore, 79% of all grill fires are caused by gas grills.

Home Fires Caused by Grills

Thermal injuries make up 86% of burns, electrical burns account for 4%, chemical burns account for 3%, and the remaining 7% fall into other categories.

The national emphasis on burn safety and injury prevention has led to a deeper understanding of the different types and incidence of burns. Thermal injuries, which involve contact with heat sources, account for a significant portion, making up 86% of all burns.

Electrical burns, resulting from contact with electric currents, are responsible for 4% of burns, while chemical burns caused by exposure to corrosive substances account for 3%. The remaining 7% falls under other categories, indicating a diverse range of burn causes.

These trends in burn epidemiology highlight the need for tailored prevention strategies to address specific burn types. By understanding the incidence of burns and identifying the factors contributing to each category, efforts can be focused on raising awareness, implementing safety measures, and promoting education to reduce the overall burn injury rate.

Through a comprehensive approach to injury prevention, we can strive to minimize the occurrence and impact of burns on individuals and communities. [1]


Hot tap water accidents result in a significant number of injuries and fatalities among Americans each year.

Chemical Burns

Hot tap water accidents pose a serious threat to the well-being of Americans, leading to numerous injuries and fatalities annually.

These accidents often result in severe burn injuries, affecting not only the physical health but also the overall quality of life for those affected. Recognizing the importance of injury prevention, there has been a national emphasis on raising awareness about the risks associated with scald injuries, especially among children.

Pediatric burn patients are particularly vulnerable to burns in and around the bathtub, where hot tap water can cause scalding. Efforts have been made to address this issue, including implementing safety measures such as setting water heaters at lower temperatures and using anti-scald devices.

By focusing on injury prevention strategies and educating the public about the potential dangers of hot tap water accidents, we can work towards reducing the incidence of severe burn injuries and promoting safer environments, ultimately enhancing the well-being of individuals. [8]

Based on the researchers’ findings, there were more than 52,000 visits to the emergency department and 7,270 hospital admissions caused by scald burns from hot tap water. In addition, 110 fatalities occurred due to tap water burns during the same period.


Every year, around 4,500 people die from burns and fires, making it the fourth leading cause of accidental death.

Burn injuries and fires continue to pose a significant threat to public health and safety, with around 4,500 individuals losing their lives to these incidents each year. Shockingly, burn injuries rank as the fourth leading cause of accidental death.

To address this pressing issue, burn injury prevention efforts are of utmost importance. Such initiatives aim to educate individuals about fire safety, raise awareness about burn risks, and promote the adoption of preventive measures such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and safe handling of flammable materials.

For patients with burn injuries, the outcomes can be complex and multidimensional. Acute burn care, which involves specialized medical treatments and interventions, plays a critical role in managing these injuries and minimizing their long-term impact.

However, the cost of burn injuries is not limited to healthcare expenses; it extends to societal and economic burdens. The financial implications encompass healthcare costs, rehabilitation, loss of productivity, and potential long-term disability.

By prioritizing burn injury prevention strategies and investing in comprehensive acute care, we can strive towards reducing the incidence of burn-related deaths, improving outcomes for patients with burn injuries, and mitigating the substantial cost burden that these incidents impose on individuals and society. [9]

If you have suffered a burn injury or any other personal injury, contact Goldberg & Loren today for expert legal representation and to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.  


[1] Schaefer, T. J. (2023, May 29). Thermal Burns. StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430773/

[2] Fire-related Deaths & Injuries – Injury Facts. (2022, October 17). Injury Facts. https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/home-and-community/safety-topics/fire-related-fatalities-and-injuries/

[3] Home Cooking Fires. (n.d.). maine.gov. Retrieved November 1, 2019, from https://www.maine.gov/future/sites/maine.gov.dps.fmo/files/inline-files/nfpa_home_cooking_fires.pdf

[4] Small, A. (2023, October 4). Cooking Fires are the Leading Cause of Home Fires. WKGC Public Radio. https://www.wkgc.org/2023/10/04/cooking-fires-are-the-leading-cause-of-home-fires/#:~:text=Additional%20statistics%20from%20NFPA’s%20latest%20Home%20Cooking,and%20$1.15%20billion%20in%20direct%20property%20damage.

[5] Mainellis, K. (2023, September 26). Top five causes of home fires and how to keep loved ones safe. Bradish Associates. https://bradish.com/top-five-causes-of-home-fires-and-how-to-keep-loved-ones-safe/

[6] U.S. highway vehicle fires: civilian deaths 1980-2021. (2023, June 2). Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/377009/us-highway-vehicle-fires-civilian-deaths/

[7] CONSUMER ALERT: New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection Provides Safety Tips to Follow When Using Gas or Charcoal Grills. (n.d.). Department of State. https://dos.ny.gov/news/consumer-alert-new-york-department-states-division-consumer-protection-provides-safety-tips

[8] Hart, R. (2023, March 7). Hot Tap Water Burns Thousands Of Americans Every Year—Even Killing Some. Researchers Say There Is A Cheap Fix. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/roberthart/2023/03/07/hot-tap-water-burns-thousands-of-americans-every-year-even-killing-some-researchers-say-there-is-a-cheap-fix/?sh=1cd10efb34d3

[9] Facts about burn injury | Children’s Wisconsin. (n.d.). https://childrenswi.org/medical-care/burn-program/burns/facts-about-burn-injury

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