Prevent the loss of life and property from fire and explosion.
- Fire training programs and public education.
- Fire and life safety inspections.
- Building plan review for code compliance.
|Mission Results||Core Services|
|Mission Results||Core Services|
|A: Result - Reduce loss of life due to fire.|
Target #1: Reduce unintentional fire fatalities (non-homicide) to less than 13 annual fatalities
Number of Fatal Fires with DF&LS Authority vs Number of Fatal Fires with No DF&LS Authority
Analysis of results and challenges: In 2020, Alaska had an 11% decrease in fire fatalities with one occurring under the division's statutory authority. There were 16 fire fatalities that occurred in structures. Of these, seven occurred in one or two-family dwellings, four occurred in a multi-residential structure, one occurred in a motel/restaurant building and four occurred in a mobile home. The division did not reduce unintentional fire fatalities (non-homicide) to less than 13 annually. Of the 16 fire fatalities, nine occurred within deferred jurisdictions. The division had significant success in all other occupancy types where it is empowered to act by statutory authority.
Smoke alarms failed to work, or were not installed or undermined in 44% of the residences where fire fatalities occurred. Alcohol or drug use-related fire fatalities decreased by 67% (from 9 in 2019 to 3 in 2020).
Fire and Life Safety data are reported on a calendar year basis. Visit http://dps.alaska.gov/fire/AlaskaFireStatistics for annual reports and more information.
|A1: Core Service - Fire training programs and public education.|
Target #1: Reduce fire fatalities in high-risk groups to less than 3.5 annual fatalities
Number of Fire Fatalities in High-Risk Groups
Analysis of results and challenges: Nationally, children under 10 years old and seniors over 65 years old have been identified to be at higher risk for fire related fatalities. Alaska followed this trend in 2020, as those age groups made up 50% of fire fatalities. Fire fatalities in high-risk groups increased from four in 2019 to eight in 2020, a 100% increase. There were seven fatalities over 65 years old and one under 10 years old.
Residential homes or trailers were the occupancy type where 63% of the high-risk fire fatalities occurred. The division did not meet the target goal of reducing fire fatalities in high-risk groups to less than 3.5 annual fatalities but will continue to focus efforts and resources on these groups. Public education at schools, clubs, conferences, state fairs, smart phone applications, etc., are utilized to provide education to the public and counter the loss of life.
Target #2: Reduce fires in high-loss regions to less than 773 annual fires
Number of Fires in Targeted Regions - Western Alaska, Central Alaska, and Anchorage
Analysis of results and challenges: Target regions are those areas of the state that experience a disproportionately higher number of fires. Fire incident reports indicate the greatest number of fires consistently occur in western Alaska, central Alaska, and Anchorage. Therefore, the division has targeted these areas for increased educational and inspection efforts to reduce fires.
In 2020, the number of fires in these targeted regions decreased by 9%, compared to 2019. It is anecdotally suspected that many of the fires are due to drug and alcohol use, domestic violence, unattended cooking, and/or the presence of combustible items too close to heat-producing equipment.
|A2: Core Service - Fire and life safety inspections.|
Target #1: 30% of all buildings scheduled for priority fire and life safety building inspections to be found in compliance at time of inspection
Percentage of Buildings in Compliance with Legal Standards According to Inspections
Analysis of results and challenges: The number of fire inspections decreased by 51, or 19%, in FY2021. The division did not meet its target of 30% of buildings found to be in compliance with fire standards. Deputy Fire Marshals (DFMs) conducted 211 fire inspections. The decreased number of inspections from FY2020 was attributable to one vacant deputy fire marshal position and COVID-19. The TransAlaska Pipeline fire inspections scheduled for FY2021 were not conducted due to COVID-19.
Prioritization of commercial building inspections continues to be based upon those occupancies that are at greatest risk of fire-related injuries, fatalities, property loss, and community impact. The division is striving to increase owner/occupant hazard awareness and self-inspections so a greater number of buildings will be found in compliance with legal standards at the time of inspection.
When an inspection generates an Order to Correct Deficiencies, each deficiency must be rectified as mandated by the Alaska Supreme Court in Adams vs. the State of Alaska. There were 4,626 follow up communication actions in support of the 211 fire inspections in FY2021.
|B: Result - Reduce property loss due to fire.|
Target #1: Reduce annual property loss to less than $48 million
Dollar Value of Property Loss from Fire (in millions)
Analysis of results and challenges: Alaska experiences significant fire-related property loss each year. Losses in 2020 decreased by $7.2 million, or 9%. The Kaktovik School fire property loss was $20 million, the Delta Junction Restaurant/Cafeteria fire property loss was $2.2 million, Kotzebue Restaurant/Cafeteria fire property loss was $1.8 million, and the Glennallen Convenience Store fire property loss was $1.6 million. These four major fires resulted in fire property loss totaling $25.6 million dollars.
Target #2: Reduce the number of structure fires to less than 1,176
structure fires per year
Number of Structure Fires
Analysis of results and challenges: The number of structure fires decreased by 7%, from 2019 to 2020. The division did not meet the target of reducing the number of structure fires to less than 1,176 per year. The division continues to work to reduce this number through fire and life safety building inspections, building plan reviews for code compliance, and public education.
|B1: Core Service - Building plan review for code compliance.|
Target #1: Complete 95% of initial building plan reviews within 14 days
Initial Building Plan Reviews Completed within 14 days
Analysis of results and challenges: The target of completing 95% of initial building plan reviews in 14 days was not met in FY2021. An increase of two personnel resulted in improvements of plan review turnaround times of 12-18 weeks in 2020, to 3-5 weeks in 2021. In September 2021, the division hired a Building Plans Examiner I and worked with a contractor to develop a web-based plan review application process to streamline the entire process, from initial application to permit-issued.
Plan reviews are recorded as data elements that, when refined, provide many different ways to access information and research customer questions more rapidly and accurately. Each plan review requires multiple follow-ups and range from the very complex to the very simple. Further refinement of data input and follow-up continues to increase customer satisfaction. Total volume of requests received is purely economy-based.
Target #2: Reduce property loss in high loss occupancies-residential structures to less than $28 million annually
Property Loss from Fire in Targeted Occupancies/Residential Structures (in millions)
Analysis of results and challenges: Property loss decreased by 37% in 2020, but the division was not able to meet the target of reducing property loss in high loss occupancies-residential structures to less than $28 million annually. Residential occupancies continue to be the type of structure where Alaska's greatest fire-related property loss occurs.
The Division of Fire and Life Safety is continually working to reduce this type of property loss through a combination of public education, fire and life safety initiatives, and plan reviews of four-plex (or larger) residential buildings for code compliance.
Since the division has no code authority, no inspection authority, and little direct access to single-family residences where most 2020 fire fatalities occurred, public fire education is the one component that will facilitate a downward trend in this sector.
Current as of December 14, 2021