Provisional Report Shows a Decrease in On-Duty Firefighter Deaths in 2009

Wednesday, 03 February 2010

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) announced there were 90 line-of-duty firefighter fatalities in the United States in 2009. Although every firefighter lost is a tragedy, this number is significantly lower than in prior years. Throughout the past decade, over one hundred firefighters were lost each year. The 2009 fatality figure is 28 less than the 118 line-of-duty deaths in 2008.

According to the Provisional Report released by the USFA, heart attack remains the leading nature of on-duty fatalities for firefighters, resulting in 43 (47.7 percent) deaths. This is a decrease from the 46 firefighters killed by heart attack in 2008. The leading cause of firefighter fatalities (52) in 2009 was stress and overexertion, which includes heart attack. Deaths caused by trauma had the greatest decline with 28 victims in 2009 compared to 42 in 2008. Firefighters were lost in 33 states throughout 2009, with Pennsylvania losing the most firefighters (8) in any one state.

These provisional fatality statistics for 2009 are subject to change as the USFA contacts State Fire Marshals to verify the names of firefighters reported to have died on-duty during 2009. The final number of firefighter fatalities will be reported in USFA’s annual firefighter fatality report, which is expected to be available by early July.

For additional information on firefighter fatalities, including the annual fatality reports from 1986 through 2008 and the Firefighter Fatality Retrospective Study 1990–2000, please visit the USFA web site.

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