Aim: The purpose of this study is to estimate socio-economic costs of fires in Poland.

Introduction: In Poland, to date, no research programme was conducted or statistical calculations produced to estimate the socioeconomic impact of fires. Undoubtedly, this area requires a deeper examination but results revealed in this study provide a basis for use in projects and a starting point for further research in this area. Illustrated costs are estimates and calculations incorporate assumptions which are characterised by some simplifications and generalisations.

Methodology: During the cost analysis process the author made use of existing statistical data and estimates, and accessed an established cost calculation model for road traffic accidents and collisions – PANDORA’2013. In order to determine the costs of fire fatalities, future losses for the state budget were estimated by determining the loss of gross domestic product per individual (for one economically active person). The analysis applied an indicator relating to the number of people in employment, that is: the number of all citizens reduced by the proportion of people beyond the working age and further reduced by the unemployment level. Additionally, it was accepted that the victim of a fire may be either male or female (with appropriate averaging of the retirement age) and analyzed the future loss of revenue to the state budget caused by the loss of a professionally active person (male or female).

Conclusions: The analysis shows that the cost estimation of fires is a long and complicated process. It requires access to complete and reliable statistical data and continuous updating of applied methodology. At the same time, obtained results confirm the significant impact of fires on the cost of state performance and loss of future income for the national economy. Actions which influence a reduction in the number of fire victims may affect the reduction of future lost revenue to the state budget. This, in turn, may influence a search for additional resources (from the state budget) to finance activities which bring about such a reduction. Any action resulting in a decrease in the number of fires and culminating in a reduced number of victims and injured people is undoubtedly cost-effective, even though it is not the sole or most important reason for conducting this type of activity.

Keywords: costs of fires, fire loss, fire victims, loss of income, rescue costs

Type of article: review article