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January 7, 2011
USFA Press Office: (301) 447-1853
EMMITSBURG, MD - The United States Fire Administration (USFA) announced today there were 85 onduty firefighter fatalities in the United States as a result of incidents that occurred in 2010, a 6 percent decrease from the 90 fatalities reported for 2009. The 85 fatalities were spread across 31 states. Illinois experienced the highest number of fatalities (9). In addition to Illinois, only New York (8), Ohio (8), Pennsylvania (7), and Kansas (5) had 5 or more firefighter fatalities.
Acting U.S. Fire Administrator Glenn Gaines noted that "When evaluating the trend in onduty firefighter fatalities over more than three decades, the past two years have seemed to reflect a possible change in the firefighting culture of the United States where Everyone Goes Home, including all firefighters." Gaines then added, "Working closely with our partners, USFA will continue every effort to be sure that when it comes to firefighter health and safety this downward trend in onduty firefighter deaths continues."
Heart attacks and strokes were responsible for the deaths of 51 firefighters (60%) in 2010, nearly the same proportion of firefighter deaths from heart attack or stroke (58%) in 2009.
Nine onduty firefighters died in association with wildland fires, about half the number that died in association with wildland fires in 2009 and a third of the 26 such fatalities in 2008.
Forty-eight percent of all firefighter fatalities occurred while performing emergency duties.
Eleven firefighters died in 2010 as the result of vehicle crashes, down substantially from 16 deaths in 2009, and for the first time since 1999, none the of the deaths involved aircraft. Four firefighters in 2010 died in accidents involving firefighters responding in personal vehicles. Seven firefighter deaths involved fire department apparatus, one of which was a double firefighter fatality incident.
These 2010 firefighter fatality statistics are provisional and may change as the USFA contacts State Fire Marshals to verify the names of firefighters reported to have died onduty during 2010. The final number of firefighter fatalities will be reported in USFA’s annual firefighter fatality report, expected to be available by July.
****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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