fire inspector checking gauges on some pipes

RFD Uses Numbers to Improve Your – and Your Neighbors’ - Lives

The Raleigh Fire Department keeps a close eye on statistics related to the services we provide to the community. Statistics allow us to focus our efforts on geographical areas that may have a specific public safety need, for instance, and they help us keep track of resources that are needed to mitigate hazards.

Thanks to statistics, we know to focus our fire and life safety education efforts on the areas of the City that show a need at any given time. By maintaining an up-to-date set of statistics, the department can carry out the services we provide at the most efficient and effective ways possible. This allows us to continue to be a safer place to live, work, play and visit for all.

2020 Stats
Although 2020 was atypical in many ways, it did prove to be a typical year in relation to fire causes in Raleigh. Our top causes of fire events continued to be:

  • Unattended cooking
  • Improperly discarded smoking materials

We continue to concentrate our fire education efforts on these key topics to reduce death, injury, and properly loss in Raleigh.

Please check out the table below and the related heat maps.  

Fire Incident Reports

Type Total for 2020 Amount for Q1 2021
Cooking Fires 215 fires ( 46% of which occurred in buildings) 53 (54.6% of which occurred in buildings)
Smoking Materials Fire 150 fires ( 42 buildings damaged) 14 ( two buildings damaged)
Approximate Dollar Loss Due to Fire $11.4 million $3.4 million
Fire Extinguished by a Sprinkler System 50% of the 58 commercial building fires 44% of 18 commercial building fires
Fire Department EMS Responses 24,183 6,169
All Fires (brush, vehicle, cooking, etc.) 1,029 (414 residential, 58 commercial) 238 ( 79 residential, 18 commercial)

Heat Maps of Fire Incidents

The following heat maps show areas in red and yellow where there have been higher rates of fires in Raleigh.The first map shows incidents for the first quarter of 2021 ( Jan - March) and the second map has the total incidents for 2020 for comparison. To see the second map make sure to click on "2" under the image. 

Red and yellow areas of the map show where there are higher number of fire incidents in Raleigh during the first quarter of 2021. 

In 2020, the heat map shows there were higher incidents of fire near the downtown core, northeast and southeast Raleigh. 

This article is part of the "Fire News" quarterly newsletter. Subscribe to receive future editions and view the Summer 2021 edition.