Contrary to Reports, Manufactured Homes Do Not Pose Increased Fire Risk

Screen Shot from CBC News Report Showing New Year's Day Fire in BC

From British Columbia comes word that the BC Coroners Service and Office of the Fire Commissioner are urging owners of mobile and manufactured homes and community operators to take special care to prevent fires in the wake of a calamitous New Year’s weekend for fire deaths in British Columbia. From a CBCNews photo, the mobile home in the New Year’s Day fire appears to be a pre-HUD code mobile home, and was referred to as such on the CBCNews report, rather than a manufactured home. It was located in Sicamous, British Columbia. The release notes that from Dec. 29, 2011 to Jan. 2, 2012, seven British Columbians lost their lives in five separate fires, three of those fires and five of the deaths occurred in mobile homes. The document notes that fires in such housing, especially older units, tend to be more devastating than those in other forms of residence. The document also refers to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security publication that also appears to incorrectly identify mobile homes as manufactured homes. The release resulted in other newspaper articles including one on Castanet with the headline Study shows risks rise in trailer fires. However, there’s more to the story. Other independent research shows modern manufactured homes – unfortunately too often incorrectly associated in news reports and other documents with older mobile homes – do not pose a particular fire risk and may in fact be safer than conventional housing construction. A recent document provided by the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) sites a 1985 study by Foremost Insurance that found the incidence of fires in manufactured homes was actually half that of site-built homes. In addition, a publication from the U.S. Fire Administration, Fires in the United States, 1992-2001 indicates that while deaths and injuries per fire incident are higher in manufactured/mobile dwellings than in residential properties overall, ten-year trends in fires and losses have declined notably (between 48 and 57 percent) due in large part to strict standards established by HUD in 1976 for improving fire safety and by the use of improved building materials. For more information see Do Manufactured Homes Burn Faster? Experts Say No

(Image Credit: Screen Shot from CBC News Video Report Jan 3, 2012)

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