By Adam K. Thiel
The preliminary firefighter fatality statistics maintained by the United States Fire Administration reflect a record low number of line-of-duty deaths for 2010 and the second consecutive year this figure has declined.
Final numbers and detailed analysis will be available later this year when the USFA releases the 2010 edition of its annual report, Firefighter Fatalities in the United States.
While this is very positive news and I remain optimistic that all the attention placed on firefighter health and safety by national fire service groups, fire departments and — most importantly — individual firefighters is starting to pay off, it is also crucial to recognize that two years doesn't necessarily represent a trend.
It's way too early to declare victory!
As a service, in our various groups, and as individuals, we must continue to keep the heat on firefighter safety and survival; not just to continue reducing LODDs, but also to lessen the injuries and illnesses that claim so many of our brothers and sisters' health and happiness.
Let's stay safe in 2011!