GITNUX MARKETDATA REPORT 2024

Firefighter Death Statistics: Market Report & Data

Highlights: The Most Important Firefighter Death Statistics

  • In the United States, in 2019, 48 firefighters died while on duty.
  • Of all firefighter fatalities in 2019, sudden cardiac events accounted for about 45% of the deaths.
  • The years 1977, 1981, and 2018 had the highest annual firefighter fatality totals, around 150, in the past four decades.
  • Between 2009 to 2019, an average of 65 on-duty firefighters died each year in the United States.
  • Approximately half of all firefighter deaths from 2000 to 2019 were due to overexertion or strain.
  • In 2019, 25 firefighters died as a result of a heart attack or stroke.
  • In 2018, sudden cardiac events resulted in the majority of firefighter deaths, leading 40 deaths.
  • Over the past 10 years, Texas has seen the highest number of firefighter fatalities at an estimated 73 deaths in total.
  • Only 10% of firefighter deaths between 2005-2014 were women.
  • From 1977-2019, there was an annual average of 11 wildland fire engineering fatalities per year.
  • In 1977, the greatest loss of firefighter life in a single incident took place, with 340 firefighters dying at the World Trade Center attacks.
  • Vehicle accidents caused about 22% of firefighter fatalities for the period between 1990 to 2000.
  • In 2019, 17 deaths occurred among career firefighters, 24 deaths among volunteer firefighters, and the remainder were employees or contractors of federal and state land management agencies.
  • Between 2015 and 2019, Firefighter deaths during structure fires were attributed mostly to sudden cardiac events (43%).
  • In 2020, New York had the highest number of firefighter fatalities with 14 deaths, including 9 due to COVID-19.
  • Over the past decade, Texas and Pennsylvania have had the most firefighter line of duty deaths, excluding the 343 deaths from 9/11.
  • Since 1918, there have been more than 1,100 firefighter fatalities in the state of New York, the most among all states.
  • Almost 60% of firefighter deaths from 2006 to 2015 occurred in buildings of one or two-family dwellings.
  • Amongst firefighter deaths in 2015, the leading nature of fatal injury was sudden cardiac events (57% of deaths), followed by internal trauma or crushing (18% of deaths).

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Firefighter roles are challenging and sometimes perilous, with many individuals laying their lives on the line to safeguard communities. This blog post delves into the often-overlooked topic of firefighter death statistics, aiming to shed light on the number of fatalities, frequency and underlying causes. Through understanding these figures, we can gain a better understanding of the risks associated with this valiant profession, and possibly ideate ways to further improve safety precautions and reduce these incidents.

The Latest Firefighter Death Statistics Unveiled

In the United States, in 2019, 48 firefighters died while on duty.

The heartfelt statistic stating that ‘In 2019, 48 firefighters met their tragic fate while on duty in the United States’, paints a stark watchman’s call for readers. As we navigate the terrain of Firefighter Death Statistics, it underscores the inherent risk these brave souls encounter daily, personalizing the grim reality behind the numbers. It forms a pivotal beacon, cauterizing the necessity to propagate strategies aimed at reducing these numbers, while harnessing a deeper appreciation for the sheer sacrifice these heroes encounter, casting a new light on the life-saving work they perform.

Of all firefighter fatalities in 2019, sudden cardiac events accounted for about 45% of the deaths.

Highlighting the statistic, ‘Of all firefighter fatalities in 2019, sudden cardiac events accounted for about 45% of the deaths,’ throws the spotlight on a critical health concern within the firefighting profession, often overshadowed by more immediate risks like burns or building collapses. It underscores the necessity of looking beyond conventional perils associated with firefighting and recognizing the invisible yet deadly risk posed by cardiac emergencies. This not only encourages reevaluation of mandatory health protocols within the profession, but also advances conversations about comprehensive health safeguards, including better cardiac health, to protect our everyday heroes.

The years 1977, 1981, and 2018 had the highest annual firefighter fatality totals, around 150, in the past four decades.

Highlighting the annual firefighter fatality peaks in 1977, 1981, and 2018 craft a striking picture of the inherent perils of the profession of firefighting. This significant data point serves to underscore the gravity and potential life-threatening nature of firefighting, punctuating the narrative of risk that remains well-entrenched within this line of duty. It demonstrates the urgent need for continued advancements in safety measures, enhanced training protocols, and more effective response strategies to protect the brave individuals who courageously face these hazardous situations, thereby adding depth and relevance to the discussion on Firefighter Death Statistics.

Between 2009 to 2019, an average of 65 on-duty firefighters died each year in the United States.

Nestled within the heart of firefighter death statistics is the chilling fact that, in the United States, the decade spanning 2009-2019 was shadowed by the persistent loss of an average of 65 on-duty firefighters each year. This isn’t a mere number strung between hydration breaks and hearty laughs around the firehouse; rather, it unfurls a sobering narrative of unforeseen sacrifices that lurk behind the brave facade of firefighting. This data breathes life into the dangerous realities that adorn the job; it punctuates pole-slides and fast-paced responses with the hard-hitting risk of mortality common in this heroic profession. Hence, it strengthens the impassioned plea for stringent safety measures and robust support systems for these brave individuals who unflinchingly walk into the jaws of potential death, bringing an undeniably palpable urgency to practical initiatives and policy changes.

Approximately half of all firefighter deaths from 2000 to 2019 were due to overexertion or strain.

Highlighting the statistic that around half of all firefighter fatalities from 2000 to 2019 were attributed to overexertion or strain underscores a critical aspect of occupational hazard associated with being a firefighter. It informs public discourse by underscoring the physical demands and inherent health risks of this profession, beyond the immediate perils of fire. By bringing this point to light, we can influence important conversations about protective policies, training regimens and actively work towards reducing these preventable deaths —ultimately enhancing the safety and lives of these brave individuals who risk their lives daily for our safety.

In 2019, 25 firefighters died as a result of a heart attack or stroke.

The unsettling revelation of 2019’s statistic, which highlighted that 25 firefighters experienced their demise due to heart attack or stroke, provides invaluable insight into the often-underestimated risks involved in this life-saving profession. Not only does it underline the physical strain firefighters endure, but it also illuminates the hidden enemy within- the silent toll of psychological pressure and stress. These numbers serve as a clarion call for action in the firefighting industry, urging a deeper investment in their health and wellness, preventive healthcare strategies, and enhanced support mechanisms. Every number is a life, and each life is a testament to the dire necessity for change.

In 2018, sudden cardiac events resulted in the majority of firefighter deaths, leading 40 deaths.

This profound fact paints a vivid picture of the risks firefighters face beyond the obvious dangers imposed by flames, underlining a critical focus area for firefighter health and safety. As the alarming statistic indicates, in 2018, sudden cardiac events were somewhat the grim reaper, claiming the lives of 40 brave souls. By presenting these unspoken hazards, it underscores the vital importance for policy makers and fire departments to allocate resources not just on firefighting equipment and training, but also on promoting cardiovascular health, implementing regular health screenings and physical fitness programs. Shedding light on such statistics emphasizes how the roles extend from battling blazes to armored health guardians poised against silent killers like cardiac tragedies.

Over the past 10 years, Texas has seen the highest number of firefighter fatalities at an estimated 73 deaths in total.

In a discourse regarding Firefighter Death Statistics, the alarming figure of an estimated 73 firefighter fatalities in Texas over the past decade casts a significant light. This number, standing out as the highest among all states, not only underscores the inherent dangers that these brave individuals face daily but it simultaneously compels us to revisit safety protocols and scrutinize the adequacy of the equipment and training provided to this group. Likely to instigate meaningful discussions on measures to curb these numbers, it serves as a stark reminder of the heavy price paid in service and the need for optimal risk management strategies in this life-saving occupation.

Only 10% of firefighter deaths between 2005-2014 were women.

Shedding light on the gender disparity in the realm of firefighter deaths, the revelation that a mere 10% of these unfortunate incidents between 2005-2014 involved women, not only beckons attention but amplifies the conversation. In a blog post where perils and risks dominated by a specific gender are laid bare, this calculation underscores the need to address potential inequities, probe deeper into the reasons behind this divergence, and stimulate discussions on gender-specific safety measures, training, and resources. Unveiling such a statistic is a pivotal stride towards fostering gender equity, improving firefighter safety, and enabling more informed, data-driven strides in the fieldfirefighting community.

From 1977-2019, there was an annual average of 11 wildland fire engineering fatalities per year.

Highlighting the annual average of 11 wildland fire engineering fatalities from 1977-2019 offers a piercing glance into the considerable risks that wildland firefighters endure. It evokes a deeply profound reverence for their courage as they step into an element of constant change and unpredictability — fire in its rawest form. Their selfless dedication to protect communities teeters on a profound sacrifice, a sobering tale of heroism and mortality illuminated by these statistics. In the context of discussions surrounding Firefighter Death Statistics, this data neatly underscores the dire significance and the critical necessity of continued safety measures, improved equipment, and advanced training for these brave wilderness warriors.

In 1977, the greatest loss of firefighter life in a single incident took place, with 340 firefighters dying at the World Trade Center attacks.

Spotlighting the tragic event of 1977, where 340 firefighters met their untimely end in the World Trade Center attacks, serves as a stark reminder in our blog about firefighter death statistics. It underlines the incredibly dangerous nature of firefighting work and the extreme sacrifices these brave individuals are often compelled to make. This single, harrowing incident accounted for the highest loss of firefighter lives in a single episode, and this fact illuminates the perilous situations which firefighters continuously face in their commitment to protect communities and save lives.

Vehicle accidents caused about 22% of firefighter fatalities for the period between 1990 to 2000.

Highlighting that vehicle accidents accounted for approximately 22% of firefighter fatalities from 1990 to 2000 offers an essential perspective in a discussion centered around Firefighter Death Statistics. It underlines the fact that, apart from the expected burns or smoke inhalation, other less obvious hazards are associated with the profession – in this case, vehicle-related incidents. This statistic can drive efforts to address comprehensive safety measures for firefighters by emphasizing on driving and transit safety, ultimately aiming to reduce this significant percentage of fatalities. The insights gathered stimulate a more profound understanding of the risks firefighters face and guide training and policy improvements.

In 2019, 17 deaths occurred among career firefighters, 24 deaths among volunteer firefighters, and the remainder were employees or contractors of federal and state land management agencies.

Exploring the stark narration of fatalities in the firefighting profession, the 2019 insight reveals an intriguing relational dynamic among different firefighter classifications, offering a definitive angle to the tale of valor, risk, and sacrifice. By highlighting a higher incidence of mortality among volunteer firefighters in comparison to their career counterparts, this statistic subtly emphasizes on potential disparities in safety measures, training adequacy, and firefighting resources. Moreover, the additional spotlight on federal and state land management agency employees or contractors further diversifies the scope of this life-risking dialogue, suggesting a comprehensive approach while discussing firefighter death statistics.

Between 2015 and 2019, Firefighter deaths during structure fires were attributed mostly to sudden cardiac events (43%).

Unveiling the sobering truth of the risks our brave firefighters face in the line of duty, this statistic uncovers an unexpected leading slayer: sudden cardiac events. It is a stark reminder bearing weight — highlighting not only the physical ordeal faced when battling blazes but underscoring the toll on the human heart. Over the span of four years, from 2015-2019, it was not the all-consuming flames but the stress-induced cardiac occurrences that claimed 43% of our firefighter fatalities during structure fires. More than a mere number, this statistic underscores the emergency service’s multi-faceted challenges, illuminating the oft-underemphasized importance of cardiovascular fitness, stress management, and timely medical response in maintaining the lifeline of our first responders.

In 2020, New York had the highest number of firefighter fatalities with 14 deaths, including 9 due to COVID-19.

Scrutinizing the distressing reality of 2020, New York reported the most firefighter fatalities nationwide, accounting for 14 of the unfortunate souls lost, with the pandemic cutting short nine of these lives. Highlighting the inevitability, even in contemporary civilizations, of the precarious hazards of firefighting and the relentless assault of COVID-19 paints a stark picture of the terrifying duality that firefighters often face -both the eternal, imminent risk rooted in their career choice and the newer, invisible enemy lurking in the pandemic. By considering these numbers, we emphasize the immense sacrifice these heroes make, which now extends beyond the flames and into the realm of global health crises, thus adding relevant and critical perspective to our discussion on Firefighter Death Statistics.

Over the past decade, Texas and Pennsylvania have had the most firefighter line of duty deaths, excluding the 343 deaths from 9/11.

Scrutinizing the high number of line of duty deaths amongst firefighters over the past decade in Texas and Pennsylvania, provides a critical insight into this perilous occupation. This data spotlights the inherent risks, safety measures, and possibly the adequacy of equipment within these specific regions, illuminating the potential area of improvements in the current firefighting system. By including these figures in a blog post about Firefighter Death Statistics, we can draw attention to the urgent necessity for improved safety protocols, bolster advocacy for better protection measures, and develop comprehensive strategies to lessen fatalities. Comparatively, excluding the 343 deaths from 9/11 signifies the importance of examining everyday hazards faced by firefighters outside major disasters.

Since 1918, there have been more than 1,100 firefighter fatalities in the state of New York, the most among all states.

Grasping the full impact of over 1,100 heroic lives extinguished in the line of duty since 1918 in the state of New York underscores the perilous reality of fire-fighting. This stark figure, the highest among all states, offers a chilling perspective on occupational hazards unique to the fire service, thus emphasizing the blog’s objective of highlighting the risk factors firefighters face. This data underscores the necessity for more effective safety measures, further training, and innovation in firefighting technology to mitigate such avoidable tragedies. In essence, it amplifies the call for greater attention to be directed towards improving firefighter safety and preserving lives that courageously strive to protect ours.

Almost 60% of firefighter deaths from 2006 to 2015 occurred in buildings of one or two-family dwellings.

Highlighting that almost 60% of firefighter fatalities from 2006 to 2015 occurred in one or two-family dwellings underscores a critical aspect of risk associated with residential fires. These figures illuminate the hidden dangers concealed within domestic scenarios, contrary to the common perception of large-scale commercial or industrial environments being the most hazardous. This discussion also brings into focus the necessity of comprehensive residential safety measures, adequate firefighting strategy, and efficient protective equipment. Furthermore, it reiterates the importance of disseminating such data to initiate public dialogues, influence policy reform, and ultimately safeguard our brave firefighters.

Amongst firefighter deaths in 2015, the leading nature of fatal injury was sudden cardiac events (57% of deaths), followed by internal trauma or crushing (18% of deaths).

The phrase ‘discovery is the heart of tragedy and hope’ rings especially true when we delve into the grim world of firefighter death statistics. The statistic that highlights how sudden cardiac events led to 57% of firefighter mortalities in 2015, dwarfing other causes such as internal trauma or crushing which stood at 18%, punctuates our understanding of the job risks that these brave men and women are exposed to. It jolts us with crucial insight into not just the fiery exterior, but the silent, unseen killers at work. This statistic underscores the need to enhance stress management, promote heart health, and improve overall physical fitness within the fire service community, potentially leading to policy changes or improvements in firefighter health and safety protocols.

Conclusion

Analyzing firefighter death statistics reveals important insights about the dangers these brave individuals face while protecting our communities. Despite advancements in safety protocols and technology, firefighting remains a challenging and perilous task. Deaths occur not only from direct contact with fires but also from physical strain, stress-related heart attacks, and accidents while en route to emergencies. The statistics highlight the profound need for continuous improvements in firefighting equipment, training, and medical support to ensure the maximum safety and well-being of these dedicated public service heroes.

References

0. – https://www.apps.usfa.fema.gov

1. – https://www.www.cdc.gov

2. – https://www.www.nwcg.gov

3. – https://www.www.nfpa.org

4. – https://www.www.firehero.org

5. – https://www.www.usfa.fema.gov

FAQs

What is the leading cause of firefighter deaths in the line of duty?

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the leading cause of firefighter deaths in the line of duty is often sudden cardiac events, followed by trauma and asphyxiation from smoke inhalation.

Has the number of firefighter deaths changed over the years?

While there is yearly fluctuation, long-term data suggests that the number of firefighter deaths has generally decreased since the late 20th century, largely due to advances in protective gear and safety practices. However, it's important to continuously work on enhancing safety protocols to reduce these numbers further.

Are certain age groups of firefighters more at risk for line of duty deaths?

Yes, older firefighters tend to have a higher risk of line of duty deaths, especially due to cardiac events. This is primarily because firefighting is a physically demanding job that puts significant strain on the heart.

Where do most firefighter deaths occur?

Firefighter fatality incidents occur most often on the fire ground, which includes structure fires and wildland fires. Other common locations include responding or returning from a call, during training exercises, and at non-fire emergencies.

Which type of firefighting (structure, wildland, etc.) sees the most fatalities?

Historically, structure fire fighting has seen the highest number of fatalities. However, in recent years, wildland firefighting has also seen a significant number of deaths, particularly in years with major wildfire events.

How we write our statistic reports:

We have not conducted any studies ourselves. Our article provides a summary of all the statistics and studies available at the time of writing. We are solely presenting a summary, not expressing our own opinion. We have collected all statistics within our internal database. In some cases, we use Artificial Intelligence for formulating the statistics. The articles are updated regularly.

See our Editorial Process.

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