USFA Reports 115 On-Duty Firefighter Fatalities in 2005

Thursday, 23 November 2006
The United States Fire Administration (USFA) released its annual firefighter fatality report for 2005, identifying 115 on-duty firefighter deaths last year. Seventy-one of the fatalities were volunteer firefighters.

In 2003, USFA adopted a broader definition of what constitutes a line of duty death, including firefighter deaths resulting from heart attack or stroke within 24 hours of engaging in strenuous activity while on duty. As a result, the number of officially recognized line of duty deaths has increased in the past two years. However, using the pre-2003 standard, the number of line of duty deaths in 2005 would be 99, which would be the lowest since 1998.

"Each year when this report is released, we reflect on the tragedy of the lives lost, and grieve for the families whose lives will never be the same," said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. "The NVFC and others are working to significantly and steadily reduce the number of firefighters killed each year in this country. There is no better way to honor the memory of those who have fallen."

Stress and overexertion continues to be the single largest cause of firefighter deaths, taking 62 lives in 2005. This category includes firefighter deaths that are cardiac or cerebrovascular in nature, like a heart attack or a stroke. Vehicle collision caused 25 deaths, the next highest number.

To help reduce the number of firefighter deaths from heart attack, the NVFC launched the Heart-Healthy Firefighter program in 2003 with the release of the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Kit and free cholesterol testing at emergency services trade shows. The program has since expanded to include the Fired Up for Fitness Challenge and the Heart-Healthy Resource Guide. The Heart-Healthy Firefighter booth travels to fire service trade shows across the country to offer free health screenings for risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose, as well as other features like cooking and fitness demonstrations. For more information about the Program, visit www.healthy-firefighter.org.

For more information on the report, go to: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/about/media/2006releases/071906.shtm

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