NFPA firefighter fatality report shows low number of on-duty deaths
NFPA reports 64 on-duty firefighter deaths in 2012, the second lowest annual total in 35 years
CHICAGO — The National Fire Protection Association released its annual Firefighter Fatality Report. There were a total of 64 on-duty firefighter deaths in the U.S. in 2012, making 2012 the second consecutive year that the total has been below 65 deaths.
For the past four years, now, the annual total has been well below 100, dropping the annual average over the past 10 years to 88 deaths. NFPA released the results during a special session at the NFPA Conference and Expo in Chicago.
"NFPA has been tracking this data since 1977 and it is certainly good news that the number of firefighter deaths has continued to decrease over the years," says Dr. Rita Fahy, NFPA’s manager of fire databases and systems. "We are grateful for the sacrifices of these brave individuals and are hopeful that with expanded use of codes and standards and other safety initiatives the downward trend in the number of firefighters dying on duty will continue."
Of the 64 firefighters who died while on duty in 2012, 30 were volunteer firefighters, 23 were career firefighters, four were members of the military, three were federal contractors, two were employees of federal land management agencies and two were prison inmates. The largest share of deaths occurred while firefighters were operating on the fire ground (21 deaths). This is the lowest number of fire ground deaths since this study began.
The decline of firefighter deaths occurred in the following areas:
- Lowest number of sudden cardiac deaths
- Lowest number of deaths at structure fires
- Lowest number of volunteer firefighter deaths
- Fourth consecutive year the total number of road vehicle crash deaths has been 10 or lower
- Fifth consecutive year of decreasing on-duty cardiac-related deaths
The firefighter fatality study is made possible by the cooperation and assistance of the United States fire service, the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program of the Department of Justice, CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the United States Fire Administration, the Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Land Management of the U.S. Department of the Interior.