A vital measure of progress of a society and its creativity. It is also a measure of progress about how people have learned to handle energy.
For a time, American history was regularly punctuated by catastrophic fires in which hotels and nightclubs, apartment blocks, and even entire cities burned to the ground. But the death rate due to fire has fallen an astonishing 90 percent over the past century, thanks to a variety of factors: the phasing-out of live-flame lights and fireplaces; the proliferation of fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and sprinklers; the professionalization of firefighting; fireproof building materials and stricter building codes; and better medical treatment for fire victims.
How drastic is the decline in fire deaths in the U.S.? Consider the following graphic*: