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29.1 Structure Fires with a Probable Code-Related Cause

This indicator measures the number of Albuquerque structure fires, residential and non-residential, where the cause was determined to be a probable building code-related issue.

This indicator is part of Sustainable built environment.

Indicator description:

This indicator measures the number of Albuquerque structure fires, residential and non-residential, where the cause was determined to be a probable building code-related issue. Building code violations contributing to ignition are electrical and mechanical failures, short circuits and arcs, leaks or breaks, worn out equipment and worn insulation, automatic control failures, and construction and installation deficiencies. Comparable data are not collected nationally or by benchmark Southwest cities. One national study conducted in 2000, however, found 23.4% of all structure fires were caused by heating equipment and electrical distribution systems, the two causes most closely related to building codes. In Albuquerque, the percentage from all code-related causes ranged between 17% and 19% from fiscal year 2008 through fiscal year 2012. Data on the total number of structures in Albuquerque are not available. However, the American Community Survey estimates there were 239,166 housing units in Albuquerque 2011. There were 35 structure fires with a probable code-related cause in fiscal year 2012. Code-related fires can, of course, occur in both residential and non-residential structures. Even if all 35 fires occurred in residential structures, this would still result in a rate of approximately one code-related fire per 6,800 structures.

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Why is this indicator relevant?

The safety of built environments is largely dependent on compliance with applicable building codes. When properties are not constructed or maintained in accordance with those codes, people and property are at risk. Measuring the number of fires with possible code-related causes provides insight into the safety of Albuquerque’s built environments.


Data Sources:

Albuquerque Fire Department; American Community Survey, US Census Bureau; All Structure Fires, National Fire Data Center, U.S. Fire Administration, Federal Emergency Management Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

What can we tell from the data?

  • The trend in the number of probable code-related structure has remained fairly flat in the last 4 years.
  • The number of code-related structure fires is extremely small in relation to the large number of structures in Albuquerque. The probability of having a code-related structure fire is also extremely small, approximately 1 chance in 6,800 based on 2011 data.

 

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