Causes of Fire Deaths and Injuries in Anchorage, Alaska: Policy Implications
Fatal and nonfatal injuries are major public health problems for Americans (Vyrostek et al. 2004). Fatal injuries have received more attention than nonfatal injuries, most likely due to the greater accessibility of mortality data (Runyan et al. 2005). However, deaths constitute only a small proportion of injury incidence overall (Runyan et al. 2005). For example, in 2001 there were about 157,078 fatal injuries in the United States and nearly 30 million estimated nonfatal injuries (Vyrostek et al. 2004). That year, unintentional injuries or accidents ranked as the fifth leading cause of death nationally, with the highest rates in New Mexico,Wyoming, Mississippi, and Alaska (Anderson et al. 2004). This paper reports on a study of civilian deaths and nonfatal injuries in structural fires in Anchorage 1999 to 2005. “Structural” refers mainly to residential structures but can include educational, health care, and industrial structures as well (Powell 2004). The majority of civilian fire deaths and injuries in Alaska occur in residential structures (Powell 2004), as is the trend nationally (Karter 2006). The fire injuries include both unintentional injuries, as when a person suffers severe exposure to flames or smoke inhalation due to a fire that starts by accident, as well as intentional injuries, which are deliberately inflicted, for example, by arson. After a discussion of the background, methods and findings of the study, the prevention and policy implications are addressed.
KeywordsBurning Migration Furnace Income Resid
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