If you ask the 1,082,500 firefighters in America how many fire engines are there in the country, they’re likely to say not enough. (New fire engines cost an average of $500,000 each.) Most of the 30,170 fire stations (21,235 are all-volunteer) are facing budget cuts and cannot afford to buy new apparatus, let alone produce their annual fire prevention parades down Main Street – which help attract recruits and educate the public. Autumn is the big season for the latter and it’s not unusual for a municipality to spend $15,000 to showcase its bravest, considering logistics, permits, police, uniforms, and clean up. And local business donations used to offset these costs have slowed to a drip across the country.
In 2008, a typical year, the US saw 378,200 residential fires called in. The fires caused 2,650 deaths and 13,100 injuries. The leading cause of fires: cooking (162,600). Space heaters are number two. Video: How to Use a Portable Fire Extinguisher.