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Estimating the Impact of 16 CFR Part 1633 on Bed Fire Outcomes

Published

Author(s)

Stanley W. Gilbert, David T. Butry, Richard G. Gann, Rick D. Davis

Abstract

Effective July 1, 2007, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission promulgated a Standard that would severely reduce the heat release rate and the early heat output from mattresses and foundations that had been ignited by a flaming ignition source. Mattresses complying with this Standard have now been sold for more than a decade. This study establishes a methodology for evaluating the effect of this Standard on the number of bed fires and the extent of their fire spread, fatalities, and injuries, and then estimates the Standard's success over its first decade. Because it is possible there were changes other than the Standard that affected the outcome of bed fires, the study normalized the changes to the numbers of residential upholstered furniture (RUF) fires, all residential fires, and all bed fires. The Standard is accomplishing its purpose, resulting in considerable reductions in fatalities and injuries from bed fires ignited by flaming sources. Approximately 65 fatalities were prevented annually during the two-year period 2015-2016. Relative to RUF fires, flaming ignitions of beds led to decreases in the numbers of fires by 12 %, injuries by 34 %, and deaths by 82 % between 2005-2006 and 2015-2016. Per bed fire, injuries decreased by 25 % and fatalities decreased by 67 %. The decreases in injuries and, especially, fatalities are larger than the decrease in the number of fires, suggesting that the most severe fires are being prevented by the Standard. There was no systematic evidence that the calculations were significantly affected by (1) the calculation method for calculating the replacement rate of pre-Standard mattresses, (2) variability in fire reporting among fire departments, (3) whether the initial combustible was reported as the mattress or bedding, or (4) whether the mattress or bedding was reported as the item most contributing to flame spread.
Citation
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 2092
Report Number
2092

Keywords

bed fires, fires, fire data, fire deaths, fire injuries, fire standard effectiveness, fire standards, home fires, mattress fires
Created April 28, 2020, Updated June 9, 2020