This headline measure shows the number of fire deaths normalized by the county's population.

Performance trends

Why is this measure important?

This measure reflects the level of success of MCFRS community outreach programs in preventing civilian fire-related deaths as well as the success of MCFRS operational resources in controlling fires quickly to minimize the number of fire fatalities and in rescuing persons trapped in burning structures. MCFRS reports fire death data to the State Fire Marshal, National Fire Protection Association, and Federal Department of Homeland Security (U.S. Fire Administration, National Fire Academy).

Factors contributing to current performance

  • Requirement for sprinkler systems in new residential construction since 2004.
  • Fire code compliance.
  • Maryland Smoke Alarm Law (became effective 1/1/18).
  • Community outreach emphasizing fire safety/prevention practices:
  • Home Safety Check program for County residents (free of charge).
  • Seniors Risk Reduction program.
  • Free smoke alarms and batteries made available to at-risk individuals or families and installed by MCFRS personnel.
  • "Fire-safe" cigarettes.

Factors restricting performance improvement

  • Occupant behavior resulting in fires.
  • Occupant behavior during fires.
  • Demographic factors - aging population, increased immigrant population.
  • Careless use of smoking materials.
  • Lack of functioning smoke alarms.
  • Lack of sprinkler protection in legacy construction.
  • Lightweight construction contributing to rapid fire growth/spread..
  • Insufficient number of full-time community outreach staff.

Performance improvement plan

  • Increased community outreach involving fire prevention and fire safety education targeting highest at-risk residents, including seniors, immigrants, and children.
  • Continued implementation of recommendations of the Senior Residents Fire Safety Task Force issued in their 2008 study/report.
  • Continue implementing community outreach and operational improvements based upon lessons learned from the 8/10/16 Arliss Street explosion/fire where 7 residents were killed.
  • Continued implementation of Maryland's Smoke Alarm Law intended to achieve more reliable smoke alarm coverage in older homes by requiring battery powered smoke alarms to be replaced with smoke alarms having 10-year (long life), sealed batteries; thus, eliminating the need to replace batteries annually while increasing the probability of reliably functioning smoke alarms.
  • Continued efforts to encourage sprinkler retrofitting of residential high-rises and garden apartments built before residential sprinkler systems were required by County Code.
  • Creating and filling additional Community Outreach positions to expand fire safety, fire prevention and other risk reduction programs.