Last year saw the highest recorded number of on-duty firefighter deaths since 2008. Trauma was the leading type of fatal injury last year, claiming 32.1 percent of the deaths. Heart attacks continue to be a concern, causing 19 percent of the fatal injuries. And in the early months of this year, that unsettling trend is continuing.
We asked readers on Facebook to share their reasons for the recent increase in line of duty deaths and gathered the most compelling responses. We now invite you to join in by adding your own reason in the comment section below.
"The lack of funding to properly man stations and older buildings are not up to code. There’s also not enough pre-planning on large structures." — Glenn C Gerber
"The increase in the average age of firefighters in the fire service. Younger people are not volunteering and it’s causing older members to exceed their capabilities — leading to overexertion and heart attacks. We need to get younger members to join or you will see some houses unable to continue to operate with current manpower. It's a nationwide epidemic plaguing everyone." — Todd Jessup
"Personal accountability — from training to taking care of yourself. Too many people wanting to be firefighters just to say they are one and not for all the right reasons." — Jamie Perry
"Poor physical condition, poor health, and diminished judgment due to stress. All firefighters, paid or volunteer, need to have yearly physicals." — Peggy Ann Roche
"Complacency. We all tend to get to comfortable at times and think it can't happen to us!" — Jason Schmeling
"Officers reading training stuff online and then pushing it on firefighters on the floor because it's the next best thing for the day. They never make it to the end where it says this does not work." — Scott Thompson
"All they need to do is enforce stress tests." — Michael Hamila
"It shouldn't be what is the reason. There's no point in asking for answers. It's time to start looking for better ways to prevent them." — Andrew McCombs
We also polled our readers here and the results can be seen below.