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NFPA report: 96 on-duty firefighter fatalities in 2022

As in past years, “sudden cardiac deaths or cardiac conditions” account for the largest share of FF deaths


By Bill Carey

BOSTON — The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released its report on firefighter fatalities for 2022 showing 96 on-duty firefighter fatalities during the year.

The increase in firefighter fatal injuries and cardiac-related fatalities in is higher than in past years due to the inclusion of incidents occurring within 24 hours of duty, regardless of manifested or reported symptoms, the NFPA reported.

“Sudden cardiac deaths or cardiac conditions regularly account for the largest share of on-duty firefighter deaths,” Richard Campbell, author of the report and a senior research analyst at NFPA said. “By adjusting the reporting period by 24 hours, we were able to more fully capture cardiac failure among firefighters, allowing us to more accurately identify the serious health risks firefighters face on the job.”

Six multiple fatality incidents occurred in 2022, tying for the highest number of those incidents since 2009. Four involved vehicles, each resulting in two fatalities. The two remaining incidents involved structure fires, one in which three firefighters were killed in a building collapse and the other in which two firefighters died after sending a mayday from the second floor of a house.

Fourteen firefighters died in vehicle crashes. Seven of these deaths were caused by collisions with other vehicles, four by collisions with stationary objects, and three in which vehicles overturned.

“While significant strides have been made over time to better protect firefighters on the job, firefighters continue to take on more roles and responsibilities, placing significant physical and mental stresses on them that can have fatal consequences,” Campbell said. “Ongoing efforts to adequately address these issues will be needed in order to see meaningful reductions.”