Purpose: To determine how often house fires occur at addresses visited previously for emergency medical services (EMS) and were these visits missed opportunities for a point-of-contact fire safety intervention.
Method: Retrospective analysis of all Fire Department (FD) responses during 1994. Data studied with descriptive statistics: reason for response, property type, dollar loss estimate, injuries, fatalities, fire cause, smoke detector operation.
Results: The FD responded to 94,378 requests for service at 43,556 addresses. 27,406 addresses generated one response. However, 16,150 addresses had multiple requests, receiving 66,972 responses. For the multiple requests, 1,162 addresses had a fire condition of which 728 addresses requested EMS prior to the fire condition. 215 were one/two-family dwelling addresses receiving 489 responses; mean 2.3 EMS responses prior to the fire condition. 182/215 (85%) of these addresses had complete data, incurring a dollar loss estimate of [US]$2,017,470, 33 injuries and 0 fatalities. The top five causes for the fire condition were children playing with smoking materials, arson, suspicious, scorched food and undetermined. 87/182 (49%) of the one/two-family dwellings had a smoke detector present. However, only 31/182 (17%) of the dwellings had an operational smoke detector.