USFA Releases 2009 Firefighter Fatality Report

Wednesday, 06 October 2010
The United States Fire Administration (USFA) has released its annual report on firefighter fatalities. Firefighter Fatalities in the United States in 2009 shows that last year heart attack remained the leading cause of line-of-duty firefighter deaths. The total number of fatalities in 2009 was one of the lowest totals in the 33 years USFA has conducted the annual analysis.
Ninety on-duty firefighters from 33 states lost their lives as the result of incidents that occurred in 2009. Pennsylvania experienced the highest number of fatalities (8). In addition to Pennsylvania, only New York (7), North Carolina (6), Louisiana (5), and Texas (5) had five or more firefighter fatalities. In 2008, nine states experienced five or more on-duty fatalities.
"Over the past 10 years alone, the trend shows a 14 percent reduction in on-duty firefighter fatalities but we must continue every effort to be sure that when it comes to firefighter health and safety, everyone goes home,” Acting United States Fire Administrator Glenn Gaines said.
The objective of Firefighter Fatalities in the United States is to identify all on-duty firefighter fatalities that occurred in the U.S. and its protectorates during the calendar year and present a summary of the circumstances surrounding each occurrence.
Of the 90 firefighters that died while on duty in 2009, 47 were volunteer, 36 career, and seven were wildland agency firefighters. The two leading causes of on-duty fatalities remained heart attack and vehicle accidents, although the numbers were lower than last year. Heart attacks caused 39 firefighter deaths, compared with 45 in 2008. Fifteen firefighters died while responding to or returning from emergency incidents, compared to 24 in 2008.
Through the collection of information on the causes of firefighter deaths, the USFA is able to focus on specific problems and direct efforts toward finding solutions to reduce the number of firefighter fatalities in the future. This information is also used by many organizations to measure the effectiveness of their current efforts directed toward firefighter health and safety. Find the full 2009 fatality report as well as archived reports on the USFA's web site.

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