Posts Tagged ‘firefighters’

California fires: Response and recovery health hazards

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017
A firefighter working in the California fires

Photo: Mike Blake / Reuters

In the wake of the devastating California fires, the massive debris field – formerly neighborhoods, homes and businesses – is now a toxic environmental brew that poses risks to cleanup and recovery workers and residents alike. Kirk Johnson discusses the environmental and health risks of the California fire cleanup in an article in the New York Times.

“In modern times this has got be an unprecedented event, and a major hazard for the public and for property owners,” said Dr. Alan Lockwood, a retired neurologist who has written widely about public health. He said an apt comparison might be the environmental cleanup after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in New York, as debris and dust swirled through Lower Manhattan.

As could well happen too in California, Dr. Lockwood said, the health and environmental effects were felt long after the attack, in the chemicals or pollutants workers and responders at the site, and the public at large, may been exposed to as the cleanup went on.

The scope of the fire disaster in California is hard to comprehend:  Photos Capture Apocalyptic Aftermath Of California Wildfires. Also: and the Los Angeles Times Mapping the destruction from California’s wine country fires.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t offer a tribute to the 9,000+ hard-working firefighters on the front lines who risked life and limb to contain the fires, rescue people and save property. See NPR’s story by Eric Westervelt: In Northern California, Exhausted Firefighters Push Themselves ‘To The Limits’.

See the Atlantic‘s In Focus for a display of photos that document the danger and the destruction.

One interesting and little known aspect of the battle against the fires is that 30-40% of the firefighters battling the fires were prisoners, according to Mother Jones. About 4,000 low-risk prisoners save the state about $80 million a year. Inmates are volunteers who are trained in a four-week program, receive $2 an hour and earn a 2-day sentence reduction for every day served. Typically, they are low-risk felons.

“Career firefighters do things like flying in helicopters and driving bulldozers; inmate firefighters use hand tools, like chainsaws, axes, and rakes, to contain the fire by clearing out the vegetation around it. The prisoners participate in a four-week training process—the same process that other state firefighters go through—proving that they’re fit enough to work through brush in the heat of a fire while carrying up to 100 pounds of gear. They work in teams of about 15 people, supervised by a fire captain. When there’s a big fire blazing, the teams work in shifts of 24 hours, followed by a 24-hour break. When not tending fires, the inmates do other conservation work, often clearing brush to prevent future fires.”

Jaime Lowe of the New York Times reports on The Incarcerated Women Who Fight California’s wildfires. It talks more about how the program works and takes an up-close look at some of the female inmates on the front lines, including the very real risks they take. While many tout this as a win-win for both the state and the inmates, there are many limitations in terms of the rehabilitative value. Lowe says:

“C.D.C.R. says that the firefighter program is intended to serve as rehabilitation for the inmates. Yet they’re being trained to work in a field they will probably have trouble finding a job in when they get out: Los Angeles County Fire won’t hire felons and C.D.C.R. doesn’t offer any formal help to inmates who want firefighting jobs when they’re released.”

Further in the article, Lowe talks more about this:

When I visited Rainbow, I asked a Cal Fire captain named Danny Ramirez why the state wouldn’t increase the incentive to join the program by paying even a little bit more. He didn’t have a ready answer. Which brought up another puzzling aspect of the program: Why doesn’t the state get more out of its investment in training these women by hiring them when they’re released? Or at the very least, by creating a pathway to employment? Ramirez said the idea ‘‘to keep tags on the girls’’ had come up before. ‘‘Some of these girls leave very interested in what they got exposed to and say, ‘Oh I never knew this exists, how do I keep on doing this?’ And it’s hard when they get out there because they do have a lot of the same walls that they were facing before. But a program to keep them guided and keep them on that path and keep them focused on something instead of getting back into their old ways or old friends would be awesome.’’


Firefighter safety: tactics over traditions to reduce fatalities

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Preliminary reports for 2012 show that there were 82 firefighter fatalities, the fourth consecutive year in which fatalities were 91 or under, in contrast with the decade prior when fatalities were all in triple digits. And in one of those years, 2007, 9 firefighter deaths occurred on June 18 in a warehouse in Charleston, South Carolina.
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has recently released a documentary on that fire, which looks at the dramatic changes made in the operations of Charleston’s Fire Department following those deaths.

It’s good to hear the courage of this department at looking at and embracing the changes that needed to be made to heighten firefighter safety. Related to the idea of challenging traditional ways of doing things to improve safety, read how flashover research could change the future of firefighting tactics. A recent series of tests were conducted Spartanburg, SC to study various suppression methods for ventilating and isolating fires to prevent — or at least delay — flashover. The research shows that by “listening to the fires,” certain traditional firefighting tactics have come under scrutiny. In addition to homes being constructed closer together, they include more plastic and chemical elements, allowing fires to spread more rapidly. On the other hand, advances in windows and doors help to create ventilation-limited fires. This may mean more water on the fire sooner and waiting to open doors or windows to enter the building until a strategy is deployed. Even the old shibboleth about not using water on smoke is coming under scrutiny.
Article author Shane Ray says:

“Experienced company officers and instructors should examine the latest research, textbooks, and NIOSH firefighter-fatality and near-miss reports. Does the fire service operate and function the way it does — especially on single-family, detached dwellings — because it produces the best outcomes or because of anecdotal procedures and processes from the past? Fire officers can make a difference by improving tactical decision-making and training new firefighters and upcoming fire officers to think about their actions based on the knowledge they have, not just the skills and abilities. Ask the tough questions and embrace the answers.”

More resources on firefighter safety:
Everyone Goes Home
Fire Chief – Health & Safety

News Roundup: Holiday Health Wonkery, Claims Webinar, Firefighter Hazards & more

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Holiday Health Wonkery – Just a spoonful of latkes makes the medicine go down? Hank Stern hosts a Chanukah-themed Festival of Lights edition of Health Wonk Review at InsureBlog – it’s fun, interesting, and contains substantial wonkery.
Claims Webinar – Mark Walls, who many of you may know from his LinkedIn Work Comp Analysis Group fame, is hosting a complimentary 90-minute webinar on Tuesday, December 11: Take your Workers’ Compensation Claims Handling from Good to Great. Mark’s been plying his profession for 22 years, so you can’t get a better claims guide. Click through to see topics or to register.
Firefighter hazardsStop, drop, and roll: workplace hazards of local government firefighters, 2009 (PDF) – “When compared with all workers, firefighters are injured in similar ways but at a much higher rate, with work-related injuries caused by “stress, exertion, and other medical-related issues” accounting for the largest number of deaths and with risks of fatal injuries 25.7 percent higher and nonfatal injuries and illnesses over two times greater.” – BLS report by Gary M. Kurlick, economist in the Office of Compensation and Working Conditions, Division of Safety and Health Statistics, at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Chimp attack – Roberto Ceniceros of Business Insurance brings us the most recent development in the sad saga of the CT woman who was attacked by her employer’s pet chimp: Woman disfigured in chimp attack settles with owner’s estate for $4M. We’ve written about aspects of this horrific case in the past – see: the crazed chimp case, Exclusive Remedy” for Losing Your Face?, and (Uncompensable) Nightmare at Work.
Depression and Work Comp – Does your organization offer depression screening for injured workers? Risk Scenarios: Down for the Last Time offers case in which missed cues and poorly handled communication made a difficult workers’ compensation case much more painful than it should have been.
Mind over Matter – Osteoarthritisis is “the most common joint disorder” and occurs “due to aging and wear and tear on a joint.” Will arthroscopic surgery relieve related pain? Read about prior studies in Kneedless Surgery. For more debunking, see Gary Schwitzer’s HealthNewsReview, which has a mission of “helping consumers critically analyze claims about health care interventions and by promoting the principles of shared decision-making reinforced by accurate, balanced and complete information about the tradeoffs involved in health care decisions.” The site offers commentary, evaluations, and grading on health care journalism, advertising, marketing, public relations and other messages – a great consumer resource.
Fraud – Two pretty large cases of fraud hit our radar this week, proving that work comp fraud perpetrators can come in many flavors, even among those you pay to trust. On WorkCompWire, we learned about $2.7 million Florida fraud case involving a former correctional officer and at Managed Care Matters, Joe Paduda blogs that Pennsylvania County was defrauded by its risk manager to the tune of $490,000.
Telecommuting – In a recent Human Resource Executive, Carol Harnett makes the case that Telework is Good for Business, and she uses the experiences that many businesses had with Hurricane Sandy as examples. At LexisNexis, attorney John Stahl looks at work comp issues related to the mobile workforce and home-based employees.
Workplace Violence – The current issue of Risk Management Magazine has a Time Line of Workplace Homicides and at Risk Management Monitor, Ralph Metzner posts about preventing workplace violence.
News Briefs

Firefighter down: Another heartbreaking fatality in Worcester

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Ironically, when we first learned about potential trouble with a three-decker fire in Worcester last week, we were in the process of gathering links about a recent NFPA report showing that firefighter injuries are down eight percent from 2009; in addition, we had come upon another Arizona study that showed that more firefighters are injured while engaged in training and exercise than in fighting fires. We were tracking NFPA stats on injuries by type of duty and by nature of injury.
But then we heard about the new tragedy in Worcester where 17-year veteran firefighter John Davies lost his life in a three alarm fire. He and his partner were searching the tenement’s third floor for possible trapped people when a wall collapsed on Davies. His partner Brian Carroll fell through to the basement, and was subsequently rescued, surviving his injuries.
Subsequent news reports of the fire say that no body has been found in the rubble. The resident that was reported missing is still missing, and authorities are searching for that person as a witness. Unsurprisingly, the home that burnt had 30 code violations and the owner is facing charges.
A firefighter death is a difficult and tragic event whenever and where ever they occur. About 100 firefighters die in the line of duty each year. FEMA notes that “Although the number of firefighter fatalities has steadily decreased over the past 20 years, the incidence of firefighter fatalities per 100,000 incidents has actually risen. Despite a downward dip in the early 1990’s, the level of firefighter fatalities is back up to the same levels experienced in the 1980’s.” In 2011 to date, 83 firefighters have died in the line of duty.
The death of firefighter Davies is a particularly difficult loss. He was to be married on New Year’s Eve. He was the father of three sons, one of whom is returning from an Afghanistan deployment to attend his Dad’s funeral. But occurring as it did in December, a few short days after the 12-year anniversary of the Worcester Cold Storage building fire that killed six firefighters, this is a particularly painful loss for the Worcester firefighting community. This grievous loss is still fresh in the minds of many locals. Both Davies and his partner were among the firefighters that responded to that fire. Both Davies and his partner were stationed at Franklin Street Station, a new station and memorial which was built at the site of the former Cold Storage warehouse.
Funeral ceremonies for John Davies are scheduled for this Thursday. It is being reported that as many as 12,000 firefighters from across the country are expected.
Firefighting may indeed be getting safer overall, but this week, statistics pale in the face of gritty reality. As long as people are trapped in burning buildings, firefighters like John Davies will be losing their lives. And as insignificant a response as it is, we thank them.

Annals of Fraud: Buffed, Ripped, Indicted

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

When we last left bodybuilding firefighter Felix Arroyo, his application for disability retirement ($65K per year, tax free) had been rejected and he had been offered back his (relatively light duty) job with the Boston Fire Department. Arroyo declined to accept the job and was fired. Now we read in the Boston Globe that he is facing criminal charges in federal court for mail fraud, the result of a seemingly able-bodied individual claiming to be disabled.
The case against Arroyo is as powerful as his biceps. Two back specialists have testified that there is no objective evidence of a back problem and that Arroyo’s description of the pain (“8 out of 10”) was inconsistent with his mobility. Testimony was also given by Dr. John Mahoney, the doctor who originally disabled Arroyo (and whose original diagnosis we termed “Mahoney’s Baloney“). Mahoney testified that he would have changed his evaluation if he had known Arroyo was a body builder.
“If someone is bodybuilding, they’re playing baseball, they’re doing activities…that’s not compliant” with their recovery,” Mahoney said.
Good for Dr. Mahoney. He owned up to his mistake and assumed responsibility for it.
Tough Defense
Arroyo’s attorney, Timothy Watkins, has his work cut out, for sure. He says that Arroyo was “working through the pain.” (Aren’t we all?) He also noted that the doctors’s interpretations of the exams are subjective and that the pain Arroyo suffered could have been the result of stress (the stress, for example, of fabricating a disability?).
Perhaps the most damaging evidence is the video of Arroyo flexing for an audience at a bodybuilding competition a few weeks after he filed for disabiility. The video shows him prancing around the stage, stretching his ripped arms and chiseled legs in all directions and flexing the formidable muscles in his back. Then again, maybe he was just having a good day.
Arroyo is by no means alone in his attempt to take advantage of a lax system. He could argue that he was only doing what many other firefighters have done. True enough, but Arroyo alone is on trial here. Testimony continues. And while no trial result is a foregone conclusion (did someone say “Casey Anthony”?), Arroyo is likely to be working out for a while in a relatively confined space.

Cavalcade of Risk & workers comp news briefs

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

It’s Cavalcade of Risk week and issue #122 is hosted by our friend David Williams at Health Business Blog – check it out!
Industry pulse – Good news. Robert Hartwig of the Insurance Information Institute takes the pulse of the property casualty industry and sees signs of life: Insurance Industry On The Mend. “Mr. Hartwig said in comparison to all of 2009, the industry’s 2010 third-quarter results are close to all of the prior years. While the industry is not back to where it was prior to the economic downturn in 2007 when it reported property and casualty net income of $62.5 billion, it is performing significantly better than the worst of the downturn in 2008 when p&c income came in at slightly more than $3 billion.”
That’s good news, but it’s not time to break out the champagne yet. A.M. Best forecasts downward rating pressure for the commercial market and two new reports indicate that reinsurance prices should remain soft in 2011.
Physician dispensed drugs – If you are an employer or an insurer and this topic isn’t yet on your radar, it needs to be. Joe Paduda posts about recent NCCI report on physician-dispensed drugs in workers comp, a significant growth area that NCCI says is putting upward pressure on WC costs. California took steps to regulate the practice a few years ago after learning that repackaged costs were two to twelve times higher than the fee schedule.
Labor – The New York Times reports that cash-strapped states are looking to curb labor unions. Expect a flurry of legislative initiatives to limit the power of labor unions representing government employees. While both parties are wrestling with ways to keep state budgets in line, the article notes:
“But in some cases — mostly in states with Republican governors and Republican statehouse majorities — officials are seeking more far-reaching, structural changes that would weaken the bargaining power and political influence of unions, including private sector ones.”
Prevention works – A concerted campaign to reduce textile service worker injuries is working, according to the recently released annual TRSA Textile Services Industry Safety Report. Recordable injuries and illnesses dropped by 17 percent from 2008 to the 2009, and have dropped by 50% since 2005. Sandy Smith reports on SafeTRSA, an industry-wide safety initiative to improve worker safety through awareness, education and training.
Breast cancer & comp – At Comp Time, Roberto Ceniceros discusses City of Las Vegas v. Lawson. The Nevada Supreme Court ruled that a firefighter is entitled to a presumption that her breast cancer arose from her on-the-job exposure to benzene. His post also discusses male breast cancer.
Dramatic Australia flood footage – Office workers catch footage of a modest creek turning into a raging torrent sweeping cars away. More news and dramatic videos of the cataclysmic Australian flooding is available on MSNBC. At least 16 people are reported dead and more than 90 missing in what has been likened to an inland tsunami. Brisbane is under siege. You can follow breaking news on Twitter at #Brisbane.

Health Wonk Review and other workers comp news notes

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Joe Paduda is the man of the moment. His Managed Care Matters blog is worth a regular perusal for the informed commentary he offers about the medical side of workers comp. Today, there’s twice as much reason to visit because he’s the host of this week’s Health Wonk Review, in which the focus is on implementing health care reform. Check out this biweekly best of the health policy blogosphere!
Violence on the job – This week, The Hartford Courant posts that the total work comp payout for the shooting at Hartford Distributors could set a record. The company’s workers’ compensation insurer is The Hanover Insurance Group. Reporter Matthew Sturdevant notes that families of deceased and injured workers have one year from the Aug. 3 shooting to file workers’ compensation claims and discusses state benefit levels. (See our related posting from last week about the aftermath of the shooting in Connecticut. )
In another corner of the world, other workers were homicide victims. The New York Times offers a tribute to 10 medical workers who were killed while on a mission to provide aid to remote Afghanistan villages that generally don’t have access to medical care. Workers included 6 U.S. medical personnel and humanitarian workers, one German, one Briton and two Afghans.
Volunteer firefighter case – The Chicago Tribune reports on a recent Iowa court finding in a dispute between two insurers which ruled that a volunteer firefighter must be officially summoned to duty to be covered by workers’ comp. Justin Fauer died while trying to rescue his boss from a manure pit. In addition to being a farm worker at the farm where he died, Fauer was also a volunteer firefighter. According to the report, “The farm’s insurance company, Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company, paid the claim but sought for it to be shared by the fire department’s company, Traveler’s Insurance Company, claiming Fauer also responded as a firefighter.” The Iowa Supreme Court upheld a district court decision that “…a volunteer firefighter cannot be summoned to duty by circumstances, but can only be summoned by the fire department or some other official channel.”
Deadline reminder to 9-11 recovery workersGround Zero workers must register by September 13 of this year to be eligible for future worker’s compensation benefits if they are sick or should become sick as a result of 9/11 exposure. Less than half the estimated 100,000 volunteers and workers who are eligible to register have done so. Authorities urge workers to register as a precaution. Joel Shufro of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health says that “”You don’t have to experience symptoms to file for this …You may never use it. We are seeing so many workers now developing symptoms and some are getting worse. So this is a very protective measure, safety net, so people who do get sick in the future will have protection.”
Popcorn Lung – Richard Bales of Workplace Prof Blog posts that an Illinois jury has awarded $30.4 million to a plant worker suffering severe lung disease from diacetyl. See more from on the popcorn lung case from the Joplin Globe.
BP agrees to pay for safety violations at Texas City refinery
Liz Borowski of The Pump Handle reminds us that before BP became synonymous with the Gulf oil disaster, it’s prior “claim to fame” was the 2005 Texas City refinery disaster that killed 15 workers. When OSHA conducted a 2009 follow-up investigation, it issued $50.6 million in failure-to-abate citations, plus $30.7 million for 439 new willful violations it identified. BP had disputed these violations, but last week, agreed to pay the entire $50.6 million.

Ten Years After: the Worcester Cold Storage Fire

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Most Massachusetts residents will recall how their heart sank 10 years ago upon hearing TV and radio reports of the on-the-job deaths of six firefighters in the Worcester Cold Storage fire. While firefighting is a dangerous job, this was the first time that six firefighters fatalities occurred in a building where neither a collapse nor explosion had occurred. The first two firefighters became lost in the labyrinth building and the next four were lost in trying to rescue them. has a Worcester 10th Anniversary Tribute and the Telegram & Gazette have devoted a special section to the remembrance: Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Fire: 10 Years Later.
Worcester is a community that several of us at Lynch Ryan know well – we’ve lived there and worked there. Given the nature of our work, we are no strangers to on-the-job fatalities – we’ve heard many heartbreaking stories about work-related deaths that never should have happened. But rarely does an event hit so close to home and with such force as on that day. Many locals will remember the shock of hearing about two lost firefighters – shortly followed by the almost unbelievable word that the tally was now up to six. Many locals who knew firefighters as friends, family, or neighbors waited the long, tense vigil until names of the deceased were released, and then again waited mournfully until fellow firefighters were able to pull the bodies of their colleagues from the rubble a few days later. We all became familiar with the faces of bereaved spouses, children, parents, and siblings. We all saw and hurt for the heavy burden of grief that the fellow firefighters labored under.
There was an amazing tribute for the fallen firefighters: fifteen-thousand firefighters from around the globe came for the memorial service. President Clinton and Vice President Gore spoke at the service, along with local Senators Kennedy and Kerry. Senator Ted Kennedy, a man who was no stranger to tragedy, encapsulated things by saying that “Sometimes life breaks your heart.” It was fitting that Kennedy was at the ceremony for the fallen firefighters, he fought for worker safety throughout his career.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, Two major reports were issued: the U.S, Fire Administration’s Abandoned Cold Storage Warehouse Multi-Firefighter Fatality Fire and a report from NIOSH.
Firefighter safety still has a long way to go. Tragically, two and a half years ago, nine firefighters lost their lives in Charleston SC. The fire was in a furniture showroom and warehouse – and again, a labyrinth building where firefighters became disoriented.
Firefighters continue to study and learn from the hard lessons of these warehouse fires. In 2001, Firefighters in Jersey City battled a warehouse fire with similar conditions to the Worcester blaze. Fire authorities credit a seminar that they took with members of the Worcester Fire Department for guiding their strategy in fighting this fire and preventing loss of life. In addition, many communities have been more vigilant about monitoring large vacant properties, and firefighter communication technologies have been improved.
The matter of firefighter disorientation is still an issue of concern and one that is under study. (See: U.S. Firefighter Disorientation Study). This has given impetus to other safety initiatives, such as advances in First Responder Locator Systems. These include a system developed at a local university, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where engineers are nearing completion of a First Responder Locator System.

Health Wonk Review’s Recess Edition and news from the blogosphere

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Congress may be on vacation but the dedicated health policy bloggers are certainly on the case so you should face no shortage of wonkery. Jaan Sidorov has posted the August Recess Edition of Health Wonk Review at Disease Management Care Blog – well worth your perusal.
And as long as we’re on the topic of health care, kudos to the folks at Kaiser Family Foundation who have put together an interactive tool that allows for side-by-side comparisons of two or more healthcare reform proposals across a number of key characteristics and plan components. It will be regularly updated to reflect changes in the proposals and to incorporate major new proposals as they are announced.
Other news from the blogosphere and beyond
OSHA – President Obama has nominated David Michaels as Assistant Secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Department of Labor. David Michaels, PhD, MPH, is an epidemiologist and is currently Research Professor at the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. In addition to his biography in the release, read more about him in his biography at George Washington University. The folks at OSHA Underground have more and this nominee is also welcome news to The Pump Handle gang as evidenced by the comments in the announcement post.
In more OSHA news, Heidi at The Facility Blog posts about OSHA’s new national emphasis program (NEP) on recordkeeping. The NEP was prompted after congressional hearings last year which raised the issue of under-reporting. The program will institute a policy that prompts recordkeeping inspections at employers’ establishments with low incidence rates in historically high rate industries and will also incorporate inspections of a sample of construction firms. See Heidi’s post for more details on the program.
Pharma – Freshly back from his vacation in the Tanzanian bush, Joe Paduda offers his take on the workers comp implications of the Administration’s drug deal.
Lean claims handling – Roberto Ceniceros has made lots of good posts over at Comp Time this week. Read about how the manufacturing trend to streamlined processing is surfacing in insurance as “lean” claims handling.
Firefighters – August 17 to 21 is National Firefighter Health Week. Despite the dangers that they face on the job every day, the real threat to their health is heart disease – nearly half of all firefighter deaths are caused by heart attacks. The National Volunteer Fire Council sponsors a site with resources and programs designed to encourage first responders to learn their risk factors, commit to making healthy lifestyle changes, and keep the momentum going all year.
NY construction training scam – a new law in New York City requires 10 hours of training for all workers hired at high-rise buildings begun after July 1. The New York Daily news reports that fake 30-hour construction training cards are surfacing. Apparently, three companies in New York and one in Nevada have been busted for issuing these bogus cards and a few dozen other companies are under investigation.
Lighter sideConsumer Insurance Blog posts an amusing video of clever ads from Bangkok Insurance which do a good job illustrating the concept of probability.

Heart attacks, vehicle accidents leading cause of firefighter deaths in 2007

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

In a recently issued study entitled On-Duty Firefighter Fatalities in the United States in 2007 (3.0 mb PDF), the United States Fire Administration (USFA) reported that there were 115 on-duty firefighter fatalities in the United States in 2007. This was an 11% increase from the 106 fatalities in 2006. As in prior years, heart attacks were the most frequent cause of death, accounting for about 45% of the fatalities. Vehicle-related incidents were the second highest cause of death, accounting for 27 fatalities. Firefighters lives were lost in 33 states and Washington, DC. South Carolina experienced the highest number of fatalities (11) while Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, and California each suffered more than 5 on-duty losses. Some other key statistics in the report include:

  • 68 volunteer firefighters and 50 career firefighters died while on duty
  • There were 7 firefighter fatality incidents where 2 or more firefighters were killed, claiming a total of 21 firefighters’ lives
  • 11 firefighters were killed during activities involving brush, grass, or wildland firefighting, the lowest in over a decade
  • Activities related to emergency incidents resulted in the deaths of 76 firefighters
  • 38 firefighters died while engaging in activities at the scene of a fire
  • 26 firefighters died while responding to or returning from emergency incidents
  • 11 firefighters died while they were engaged in training activities
  • 15 firefighters died after the conclusion of their on-duty activity
  • Heart attacks were the most frequent cause of death for 2007, with 52 firefighter deaths
  • 27 firefighters were killed as a result of vehicle crashes

One of the objectives of the report is to analyze the circumstances surrounding the fatalities. This is intended to help identify approaches that could reduce the number of firefighter deaths in future years.
Additional resources
An abbreviated summary of the 2007 fatality report is also available.
Recognizing the need to do more to prevent line-of-duty deaths and injuries, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation launched a national initiative to bring prevention to the forefront. Everyone Goes Home offers online resources, tool boxes, a learning center, and a calendar of various life-safety initiatives and activities.
Firefighter Fatality Retrospective Study 1990-2000 (PDF)
Annual Firefighter Fatality Reports