New Jersey Ranks among the 'Best Fire Safe States' in the Nation

State's Excellent Fire Enforcement Code Standards Result in
Fatality Reductions


TRENTON, N.J. – New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lori Grifa today announced that New Jersey is ranked among the most fire safe states in the nation, according to a report released by the National Fire Protection Association. The report findings show that New Jersey has the 10th lowest number of fire deaths per one million people in the U.S.

"This is quite an accomplishment given the fact that New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the country," said DCA Commissioner Grifa. "Not many statewide programs can claim this type of success over such an extended period of time."

New Jersey's fire death rate between 2003 and 2007 is 7.1, according to the report. The average fire death rate among all 50 states for that same time period is 10.9. Citing a positive trend, the report findings say that nearly every state in the nation shows a long-term trend toward lower fire death rates relative to population. However, given New Jersey's demographics, dense population and older housing stock, the low fire death rate is particularly noteworthy.

The report cites effective programs such as universal public fire and life safety education, wider use of home fire protection systems, and strong consensus codes with strong enforcement as reasons that reduced fire death rates change over time in any state.

Among states in the Northeast, New Jersey ranks third best. Only New Hampshire (6.4) and Massachusetts (6.0) fared slightly better.

The report shows that between 1980 and 1984 the fire death rate was 22.9 with an average of 170 New Jersey residents being killed by fire annually. The report also shows that 56 New Jerseyans lost their lives due to fire between 2003 and 2007. That is a 67 percent reduction over the past quarter century.

"New Jersey's excellent ranking is a testament to the statewide fire codes, and effectiveness of local and state enforcement," said New Jersey Division of Fire Safety Acting Director William Kramer. "We have one of the best fire code enforcement programs in the country. Nowhere in New Jersey is the fire code not being administered."  

The Division of Fire Safety issues an annual report of fire experiences in New Jersey. The latest report for 2010 can be found on the DCA website at

The entire NFPA report can be viewed through the National Fire Protection's website at

The Division of Fire Safety serves as the central fire service agency in the State. The Division is responsible for the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code, as well as for implementing public education and firefighter training programs.

For more information about the Division of Fire Safety, log on to on the DCA website, or call (609) 633-6106.