Wednesday, January 7, 2009

USFA: 114 On-duty firefighter fatalities in 2008

Firefighter Close Calls has summarized forwarded the preliminary U.S. Fire Administration data about firefighter line of duty deaths in 2008. It is sobering to read that an average of 21 firefighters have died each year on wildland fires over the last 10 years. Here is the information from Firefighter Close Calls the USFA:
The USFA reports there were 114 on-duty Firefighter fatalities in the United States as a result of incidents that occurred in 2008. During this period, there were Firefighters lost from 34 states and one from the Virgin Islands. Each of the following states suffered more than 5 on-duty losses:
  • North Carolina (11) LODD's
  • Oregon (9) LODD's
  • Pennsylvania (9) LODD's
  • California ( 8) LODD's
  • New York (7) LODD's
  • Illinois (6) LODD's
  • Missouri (6) LODD's
  • Ohio (6) LODD's
"The tragic losses of on-duty Firefighters in 2008 are a reminder of the necessary commitment and efforts by all Firefighters to focus on and improve our operational safety," U.S. Fire Administrator Greg Cade said...and further stated... "We understand all too well that many of these losses are preventable"

As the USFA continues to collect and evaluate information regarding the 2008 on-duty firefighter deaths, here are some of the early known facts:

Preliminary estimates indicate that heart attacks and strokes were responsible for the deaths of 50 firefighters (43.8%) in 2008. This shows a decrease from 54 of the 118 (45.7%) firefighters in 2007.

In 2008, 26 on-duty firefighters died in association with wildland fires. This loss is more than double the 11 wildland firefighter fatalities in 2007. The 2008 toll is also above the annual average of 21 wildland fire-associated fatalities over the past 10 years, 1999-2008.

For 2008, 64.9% of all firefighter fatalities occurred while performing emergency duties.
  • Twenty-nine firefighters died in 2008 as the result of vehicle crashes.
  • Fourteen of these deaths involved aircraft crashes.
  • Fifteen firefighters died in motor vehicle crashes. Six firefighters were killed in crashes involving their personal vehicles and three died in water tender (tanker) crashes. These two vehicle types have historically been most often involved in crashes that take the lives of firefighters. Speed and a lack of seat belt use historically contribute to these incidents.
More details here and also at http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/fatalities/

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