USFA Releases 2008 Firefighter Fatality Report

Tuesday, 06 October 2009

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) has released its annual report on firefighter fatalities. Firefighter Fatalities in the United States in 2008

shows that last year heart attack remained the leading cause of line-of-duty firefighter death.

Of the 118 firefighters who died while on duty in 2008, 46 died from heart attack. Five firefighters suffered a fatal stroke. In total, 44 percent of firefighter deaths last year are classified as stress/overexertion, which includes all cardiac and cerebrovascular causes. The second leading cause of death, vehicle collision, claimed 28 lives.

These tragic statistics make clear the importance of ensuring the nation’s first responders adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle and keep their hearts strong. The National Volunteer Fire Council’s Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program works to reverse this alarming trend by creating awareness among first responders of their risk of heart attack and providing the tools these first responders need to get and stay healthy. Learn what you can do to prevent yourself from becoming a statistic at

“The NVFC is deeply saddened by the loss of 118 firefighters during the line of duty in 2008. While we are pleased to find that the total number of on-duty firefighter deaths due to cardiovascular disease has declined this year compared to other recent years, the fact remains that heart attack remains the number one cause of these deaths,” said Lillian Ricardo, Health and Safety Project Coordinator. “The Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program will continue to do everything possible to educate first responders on the reasons they need to be healthy and to provide the tools, resources, and motivation to make that possible.”

USFA is the single public agency source of information for all on-duty firefighter fatalities in the U.S. each year. Read the full report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States in 2008 and access reports from previous years at



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