Nevada above average in fire prevention

Nationally, Nevada is above average in fire prevention and ranks near the top in firefighter safety, said Helen Oster, a manager with the state fire marshall's office.

"Nevada is one of the fifteenth lowest in fire deaths," she said. "In firefighter deaths, none in the last 10 years were caused by fire."

Oster said modern firefighters are problem solvers. Fires make up a smaller chunk of their calls than just a couple decades ago. In the past few years, more than half of fire calls have been medical related.

"EMS (Emergency Medical Services) are the biggest of the stats," she said. "Other non-fire calls are significant as well."

According to statistics compiled by the fire marshall's office, other non-fire calls make up close to 43 percent of total emergency calls.

Oster said the non-fire category includes rescues, false alarms, hazardous materials, services "like getting a cat out of a tree," she said.

Of the 6-7 percent of calls that are fire related, most are wildland, vehicle, structural and residential, Oster said. Other significant causes include exposure (in the vicinity of a fire) and arson.

Wildland and vehicle fires each make up close to 23 percent of calls, while 22 percent of calls are structural, 17 percent are residential, 8 percent are arsons and 5 percent are exposure-related, Oster said.

Nevada Division of Forestry Captain Rich Riolo said fire codes and fire education has helped reduce the number of fires, while a greater number of responsibilities, such as medical and other emergency calls, have fallen on the fire department's shoulders.

"The big thing is that people have gotten smarter about fire," he said. "People pretty much know how dangerous it can be."

Nevada Civilian Deaths by fire:

(Compiled since in 1987)

1987: 6

1988: 18

1989: 13

1990: 16

1991: 17

1992: 21

1993: 8

1994: 21

1995: 15

1996: 17

1997: 17

1998: 24

Nevada fire department calls:

50.76 % EMS

42.56 % other non-fire

6.68% fires

Of Nevada fire calls:

23.99% vehicle fires

23.10% wild land

22.21% structure

17.08% residential

8.59% arson

5.03% exposure (something near a fire catches)


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