"'America Burning', the 1973 Report of the National Commission on Fire Prevention and Control, pointed out that in the United States fire is a major national problem. It stated that fire claims nearly 12,000 lives a year, injures some 300,000 and destroys property worth over 4 billion dollars. It stated that the United States leads all the major industrialized countries in per capita deaths and property loss from fire. The death rate is nearly twice that of second-ranking Canada. Among the Commission's recommendations was that a National Fire Data System be established to help place fire prevention and control programs on a firmer foundation of scientific data, and to facilitate development of cost-effective solutions to these problems. Acting on the recommendation of the Commission, the Congress passed and the President signed the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act in 1974. The Act dealt with the entire national fire problem and it established the National Fire Prevention and Control Administration. Federal-level responsibility for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of data on the occurrence, control, and results of fires of all types was assigned to the National Fire Data Center of the Administration. The legislative mandate also specified that the program of the Data Center shall be designed to provide an accurate nationwide analysis of the fire problem, identify major problem areas, assist in setting priorities, determine possible solutions to problems, and monitor the progress of programs to reduce fire losses. This paper describes the National Fire Incident Reporting System, an ongoing effort undertaken in partial fulfillment of this mandate, and it provides a very brief review of a related activity on the international level."
National Emergency Training Center Library: http://archive.org/details/firepubs
75th Anniversary Symposium on Fire Standards and Safety - National Bureau of Standards - April 5 and 6, 1976