Mike McClain, Web Editor
NFPA report details $328 billion impact of fire
April 18, 2013 – The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released an updated report on the Total Cost of Fire in the United States. It can be seen from the report that the total cost of fire in 2010, adjusted for inflation, is 38 percent higher than in 1980, while its proportion of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) has declined by roughly one-third.
However, both the total cost of fire and total cost as percentage of GDP have been roughly steady for the past several years. The total cost of fire for 2010 is estimated at $328 billion, or roughly 2.2 percent of U.S. GDP.
The complete total cost of fire is defined as the sum of economic loss (e.g. property damage, business interruption), human loss (e.g. lives lost, medical treatment, pain and suffering), and the cost of provisions to prevent or mitigate the cost of fire (e.g. fire departments, insurance, and fire protection equipment and construction).
Other key findings from the report:
- Although the core total cost of fire has increased by 45 percent since 1980 to total $108.4 billion, the economic loss due to fire decreased by 29 percent, totaling $14.8 billion.
- The total cost of direct property damages, reported or unreported, was $13.2 billion. This figure represents 89 percent of the economic loss. The other 11 percent represents indirect losses, such as business interruption.
- Building construction expenses needed solely for the purposes of fire safety and fire protection considerations totaled $31.7 billion.
- Human losses were estimated at $31.9 billion.
For a fact sheet on the total cost of fire, please visit www.nfpa.org/TotalCost.
About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. NFPA develops more than 300 codes and standards to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other hazards. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed at no cost at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.
It seems hard to believe that it was only a little over a year ago that the threat from the US SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) was averted (and that ACTA was still with us in the EU). But of course the war is never won: new threats to freedom and openness on the Internet just keep on coming.
Modern risk management problems
The modern risk management is currently going through an ideological crisis showing the following symptoms:
- failure to understand the nature of the majority of risks, eclecticism of methods and concepts, in both technologies and standards of risk management,
- disregard of the interaction between operational risk, credit risk and market risk, lack of continuity in management processes, lack of common rating scales for the assessment of various risks,
- inadequate tools for operational risk assessment,
- the virtual absence of portfolio approach to operational risk management,
- difficulties with forecasting stress and crisis scenarios generation, difficulties with explaining the nature of chaotic market processes,
- the problem of the recently increased relevance of some previously uncommon factors, of which the following ones are thought by the author to be most important : cyber-terrorism and industrial terrorism, influence of social networks, High Frequency Trading (HFT), threat of antibiotic resistance.
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Having seen an uptick on volatility as measured by the VIX in the last few days, I find that this is a good time to talk about a phenomenon many people do not know. Volatility tends to be persistent, with low volatility leading to more low volatility, and high volatility leading to more high volatility. But more interesting still, volatility can feed on itself, with increases in volatility leading to further increases in volatility and decreases in volatility leading to further decreases in volatility. And there is a simple reason for this, which I will explain in this article.