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.
KeywordsCensus Tract Space Heater Unintentional Injury Sprinkler System Smoke Alarm
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Anchorage Daily News (2004). Winnebago explodes in Spenard; Police suspect meth-lab fire. Alaska Digest, p. B3, October 13.Google Scholar
- Anderson, R.N., Minino, A.M., Fingerhut, L.A., Warner, M., and Heinen, M. (2004). Deaths: Injuries, 2001, National Vital Statistics Report 52, No. 21. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Vital Statistics.Google Scholar
- Aurand, A. (2005). Girl rescues 5-year-old from fire. Anchorage Daily News, Main, A1, May 31.Google Scholar
- Brant, T. (2004). Alaska ranks high in deaths caused by fire. Anchorage Daily News, Alaska, p. B1, December 19.Google Scholar
- Choudhry, U.K. (2001). Uprooting and resettlement experiences of South Asian immigrant women. Western Journal of Nursing Research 23: 376-393.Google Scholar
- Demer, L. (2005). Meth ills expand in Alaska. Anchorage Daily News, Alaska, p. B1, September 7.Google Scholar
- Freedman, D. (2000). Anchorage. Emeryville, CA: Avalon.Google Scholar
- Gallagher, W. (1994). The Power of Place. New York: HarperPerennial.Google Scholar
- Hall, J. (2001). Patterns of Fire Casualties in Home Fires by Age and Sex. Quincy, MA: National Fire Protection Association, Fire Analysis and Research Division.Google Scholar
- Hall, J. (2006). U.S. Unintentional Fire Death Patterns by State. Quincy, MA: National Fire Protection Association, Fire Analysis and Research Division.Google Scholar
- Karter, M. (2006). Fire Loss in the United States during 2005: Full Report. Quincy, MA: National Fire Protection Association, Fire Analysis and Research Division.Google Scholar
- Kollin, S. (2001). Nature’s State: Imagining Alaska as the Last Frontier. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
- Markides, K.S. and Eschbach, K. (2005). Aging, migration, and mortality: Current status of research on the Hispanic paradox. Journal of Gerontology Series B 60B: 68-75.Google Scholar
- Moore, M. and Murphy, Z. (2001). Serious and Fatal Child and Adolescent Injuries in Alaska 1994-1998. Juneau, AK: Community Health and Emergency Medical Service, Department of Health and Community Services.Google Scholar
- O’Malley, J. (2006). Language barrier a dream-blocker. Anchorage Daily News, December 18, retrieved from http://www.adn/news/Alaska/newcity/v-printer/8502094p-8395357c. . . 12/18/2006.
- Pesznecker, K. (2005). Center helps new students adjust to English. Anchorage Daily News, December 19. Retrieved from: http://www.adn.com/Alaska/v-rinter/story/7298927p-7210658c.html.
- Powell, G. (2004). Fire in Alaska 2004. Anchorage, Alaska: Division of Fire Prevention, Department of Public Safety.Google Scholar
- Shai, D. (2006). Income, housing and fire injuries: a census tract analysis. Public Health Reports 121: 149-154.Google Scholar
- Singer, A. (2004). The rise of immigrant gateways. Brookings Institute. Retrieved from: http://www.brookings.edu/metro/pubications/20040301_gateways.htm.
- U.S. Census Bureau (2000). Census 2000 (SF3) for Anchorage Municipality. Retrieved from: American Factfinder: http://factfinder.census.gov.
- U.S. Census Bureau (2006). Anchorage Municipality, Alaska, 2005 American Community Survey, General Demographic Characteristics. Retrieved from http://factfinder.census.gov.
- U.S. Fire Administration (2006). National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) 5.0 Reference Guide. Retrieved from: http://www.nfirs.fema.gov/documentation/reference/
- Vyrostek, S.B., Annest, J.L. and Ryan, G.W. (2004). Surveillance for fatal and nonfatal injuries - States, 2001. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Surveillance Summaries 53: 1-57. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwR/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5307al.htm.