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Safe and Engaged Communities

Confine structure fires to room of origin 85% of the time


FY21 Actual

FY20 Actual

Objective Description

Confining structure fires to the area or room of origin can be indicative of an effective fire suppression response, which is dependent on getting sufficient resources to an incident scene quickly, and effective fire suppression operations by firefighters. Though some fires will have already spread beyond the room of origin upon arrival of firefighters, when firefighters have the opportunity to confine fires to the room of origin, property loss can be reduced, and injuries and deaths to both occupants and firefighters can be avoided or minimized. Incidents where fire has already extended beyond the room of origin upon arrival of firefighters negatively impact the result for this performance measure.

Trend Analysis

In FY20, there were 226 structure fires, including fixed mobile homes and commercial trailers, and over 83% were confined to the object or room of origin, nearly the same as the ten-year average. During the ten-year period from FY10 to FY20, 84% of all structure fires were confined to the object or room of origin, and 1.3% of fires spread beyond the structure. During this period, there was an average of 256 structure fires annually in Howard County. Overall the number of structure fires declined over 24% during these ten years. For the six years between FY09 and FY14, the number of structure fires steadily declined by an average of 21 fires per year, but by FY15 the County experienced an increase of 16 structure fires per year through FY18. During FY20, the number of structure narrowly declined by 6.


  • Implement a dynamic dispatch system that determines unit assignments based on real-time GPS-based Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL).
  • Strategically plan and construct new facilities and place apparatus around the County.
  • Assure adequate staffing on fire engines, aerial and rescue squad units that allows for effective and rapid execution of "critical immediate tasks" upon arrival to fires.

Source: Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue

Detailed Analysis

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