Estimating the cost of residential fires in Victoria: Residential Fire Safety Research Program

Gillian Davenport, John Gilbert, Carlyn Pauline Muir, Stuart Vaughan Newstead

Research output: Book/ReportOther ReportResearch


An evidence-based approach to fire safety relies on valid estimates of the costs of deaths, injuries, and property losses. A full understanding of the cost of residential fire to the Victorian economy is required in order to measure the effectiveness of interventions to prevent residential fires or reduce the harms caused by them.
In an environment where there are competing demands on government resources, determining the true cost of residential fires will provide additional evidence to assist CFA to:
• make informed decisions regarding the effective allocation of resources within CFA e.g. between preparation, prevention, response activities
• prioritise program activity within CFA e.g. bushfire programs, residential safety programs
• evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of individual projects and programs over time
• monitor and measure performance of ongoing programs
• develop business cases for new initiatives to present to Government.
This paper sets out a framework for developing a costing for Victoria. At present data is not available for some measures, preventing a cost being estimated. With this framework developed, however, work can commence to obtain and validate the required data with a view to developing a robust cost estimate. The full cost of fire comprises the costs for bushfires, grassfires, residential fires and industrial fires. As a starting point, CFA is developing a cost for residential fires with a view that this approach could be used to develop a cost for other types of fires that will be added to eventually get a total cost of fire for Victoria.
Development of this cost model for residential fires was based on previous models developed in the fire area in other jurisdictions. Elements of the model for estimating the costs of road crashes in Australia by the Bureau of Industry, Transport and Regional Economics were also considered.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMelbourne, Australia
PublisherCountry Fire Authority
Commissioning bodyCountry Fire Authority (CFA) (Victoria)
Number of pages49
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Residential fires
  • Safety
  • Costs and cost analysis

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