An article posted January 22, 2018 12:30:50By now you’ve probably heard about the recent fire that swept through the city of Flint, Michigan, leaving at least 100 people dead and thousands more without drinking water.
A few days later, a rash of car fires spread across the Midwest, and police say the number of such fires in Michigan has now increased to a record 9,000.
So how does this affect our cities?
A new report published by the nonprofit Public Health Institute of America, titled Burning Your Car is Not a Good Idea, argues that the situation is more complex than the headlines suggest.
It finds that the number and severity of fire incidents in the U.S. are at a 20-year high.
That’s because, for example, there are now more than 7 million vehicles registered in the country, compared to fewer than 5 million a decade ago.
The report also points out that car fires have become more common over time, even as the number has fallen, because many people are more likely to be able to afford to pay for a fire insurance policy than they were a decade or two ago.
For example, according to the report, the median household income in Michigan is $48,000, and one out of five households in Michigan have a vehicle.
So a fire on a car could be much more costly than a fire in a vacant home.
And the problem is far from over: according to a recent study from the Center for Automotive Research, the average cost of a new car in the United States is now $50,000; the average deductible is $7,000 per vehicle.
The Public Health report also argues that there are more reasons for cities to ban burning their cars than just the fire situation.
The report cites “rising rates of asthma, COPD, and other respiratory diseases” among adults, and suggests that this could have a direct impact on car ownership.
And while some cities are starting to crack down on burning cars, other cities are doing nothing at all.
For instance, according the Public Health, only a handful of cities in the US have enacted laws that specifically prohibit burning cars in public.
The rest are taking some measures to limit the public’s exposure to fires.
What’s happening now?
It’s important to note that there is still a long way to go.
The most recent numbers show that the U of M’s population has risen by nearly 1 million since 2020, and that Michigan is still home to just 3.6 million residents.
But in the past decade, the city has also seen a dramatic increase in population and the number, severity, and frequency of fires.
In other words, if cities continue to grow, the number is likely to keep on rising.
So why is the situation changing so quickly?
According to the Public Heath report, cities are moving away from the traditional “burn it, move it, burn it” approach to addressing fire, and are now taking a more proactive approach to fire prevention.
“In many cities, the public health response has been slower to develop, and the pace of change has slowed,” the report says.
This is because cities are also beginning to address the fire crisis more broadly.
For example, last year, the US House of Representatives passed legislation to expand the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s jurisdiction to include urban fire, including fire prevention and suppression.
The legislation, known as the National Fire Prevention Strategy Act, will include new rules, standards, and procedures to improve fire prevention in urban areas.
And it will also include a new toolkit to help local governments plan and execute their fire prevention plans.
The public health report also notes that many cities are now investing in fire prevention programs to address health impacts such as respiratory diseases, as well as to address climate change.