Cover: Fire Severity and Response Distance

Fire Severity and Response Distance

Initial Findings

Published 1978

by Edward Ignall, Kenneth Lloyd Rider, Richard Urbach


Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.9 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback36 pages $20.00

Studies the relationship between physical damage from fires and the distance traveled by the first-arriving fire company, using data from 115,000 structural fires in New York City between 1968 and 1970. It was found that the estimated fraction of fires that were serious (where more than 15 percent of building contents were destroyed) at the moment of dispatch ranged from 3-7 percent. This fraction was typically 10 percent smaller for alarms reported by telephone than for those reported from alarm boxes, for comparable occupancies at the same time of day. For commercial buildings, the estimated fraction serious at dispatch was also smaller during the day than in the evening, again by about 10 percent. The estimated fraction serious when fire companies arrived increased with response distance in nine out of 10 cases examined. In nonfireproof and frame structures, the fraction serious at fire company arrival typically increased by about 5 percent for each one mile in response distance.

This report is part of the RAND report series. The report was a product of RAND from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.