Posts Tagged ‘fires’

Combustible Dust: the culprit in Omaha’s explosion?

Friday, January 24th, 2014

When we first heard about the terrible explosion at the International Nutrition animal feed plant in Omaha, Nebraska that claimed two lives and injured many others this week, we had one thought: Combustible dust.
In non-technical terms, combustible dust is any dust from industrial processes that will catch fire and have the potential for explosions in confined spaces. Wikipedia offers this simple explanation of conditions:
There are four necessary conditions for a dust explosion or deflagration:
1. A combustible dust
2. The dust is suspended in the air at a high concentration
3. There is an oxidant (typically atmospheric oxygen)
4. There is an ignition source
There are many sources of ignition – fire, friction, arc flash, hot surfaces and electrostatic discharge. It’s an exposure in many industries: food production, metal processing, wood products chemical, manufacturing, rubber & plastics, coal-fired power plants, to name a few.
OSHA Investigates
Yesterday, Celeste Monforton of The Pump Handle reported that “OSHA and other investigators suspect that an explosion of combustible dust played some role in the disaster.” Her post recounts the OSHA and the Obama administration’s failure to take action on passing a combustible dust standard.

“But month after month, year after year, the Labor Department has failed to act. Last fall, OSHA indicated it plans to take comments in April 2014 from a select group of small business on a draft version of a regulation. That’s a step the agency previously suggested would take place in April 2011, then December 2011, then October 2013, and November 2013.”

Monforton also points to an excellent Center for Public Integrity (CPI) investigation that analyzed data compiled by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, finding that more than 450 accidents involving dust have killed nearly 130 workers and injured another 800-plus, Since 1980, noting that “Both agencies, citing spotty reporting requirements, say these numbers are likely significant understatements.” Here’s the full report: Unchecked dust explosions kill, injure hundreds of workers
In the wake of the Imperial Sugar disaster which killed 14 workers and injured 36, the Chemical Safety Board has produced many reports on combustible dust explosions, including the excellent safety video below.

We also found this short video by FM Global to be compelling.

The text explantion for the video says:
“Did you know that dust can explode?
That is to say any organic material–wood, paper, rubber, fiber, food, tobacco, etc.–can create dust given the right conditions.
In this controlled demonstration at FM Global’s one–of-a-kind Research Campus in West Glocester, RI, the five ingredients needed to cause dust to explode–air, fuel, heat, suspension and confinement–are provided to cause the explosion, or more appropriately, a partial volume deflagration.
Here, one hard hat full (11 lbs. or 5 kg.) of coal dust is placed in a trough approximately 2/3 of the height of the enclosure, which measures 10 ft. wide x 12 ft. deep x 15 ft. high. A small charge was then introduced to disturb and suspend the dust followed by an ignition source (bottle rocket).
Although you may not be able to totally eliminate combustible dust from your process or your facility, there are prevention measures you can take to reduce the frequency of dust fires and explosions. Likewise, control measures can reduce the severity of a fire or explosion. Together, these can help you reduce the likelihood of property damage and business interruption.
Takeaway: If it didn’t start out as a rock, it can explode.”

Find out more about this test in an article Dust to Ashes (PDF) in FM Global’s Reason, page 38.

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

No exit, redux

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

While many of us were planning for Black Friday shopping sprees over Thanksgiving weekend, more than 100 Bangladesh garment workers died in a Tazreen Fashions factory fire because there were insufficient exits for workers to escape. Tragic as the story is, it is not unique. Since 2006, more than 500 Bangladeshi workers have died in factory fires. The Bangladesh factory fires are what working life looked like in the U.S. pre-fire codes, pre-fair labor standards, pre-OSHA. Workers went to work unsure if they would return home safely each day. The Bangladesh fire calls to mind the infamous 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in New York, a tragic story that resulted in a huge public outcry for change. The fire gave impetus and momentum to workers compensation legislation, child labor laws, fair labor standards, building code and fire regulations, and more.
Even with our worker protections, it takes vigilance to prevent tragedy from repeating itself in the workplace next door. In 1991, a fire in an Imperial Foods poultry processing plant in North Carolina claimed the lives of 25 workers who had been locked in to prevent theft. In 2003, a New York Times investigation revealed that retail giant Wal-mart was locking night shift workers in. In addition to the “locked in worker” issue, OSHA citations for other exit-related safety violations include many familiar household brand names: Home Goods, CVS, Rite Aid, Kohl’s, Toys R Us, to name but a few.
Will the Bangladesh fire be a tipping point?
Unsurprisingly, there is public outrage in Bangladesh following this terrible event, just as there was here in 1911. Will it be enough to galvanize reforms in the nation’s largest exporting industry? The temptation might be to see this as Bangladesh’s problem to solve, but things aren’t always quite that simple. According to news reports:

Tazreen Fashions is a subsidiary of the Tuba Group, a major Bangladeshi garment exporter whose clients include Wal-Mart, Carrefour and IKEA, according to its website. Its factories supply garments to the U.S., Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands, among other countries. The Tazreen factory opened in 2009 and employed about 1,700 people.

Photos at the scene of the fire show that clothing was being produced for Wal-Mart. The retail giant has issued statements distancing itself from the factory, saying Tazreen was unauthorized to do work for Wal-Mart, and blaming a supplier for subcontracting work.
Complex webs of subcontractors – both domestically and internationally – are an increasingly convenient way for large multinational companies to defect responsibility, but should we accept that Wal-Mart and other mega-buyers can’t better control their supply chain? Surely, American companies could join forces in leveraging their buying power to demand that safety and basic human rights are enforced if they had the will to do so. U.S. consumers and policy makers need to demand more accountability from the organizations that we buy our clothes, our phones, and our electronics from.
The following video is distressing and gruesome, but we think it deserves airing. It’s the human toll that’s paid for getting shirts for a few cents less.

New developments in the UCLA lab death of Sheri Sangji

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

We’ve previously posted about the death of chemical research assistant Sheri Sangji, who was killed as a result of a 2008 UCLA laboratory fire. She was working with a dangerous chemical that ignited when exposed to air. Her terrible burns proved fatal some 18 days after the accident.
After numerous investigations, UCLA chemistry professor Patrick Harran (her supervisor) and the UC Board of Regents faced felony charges for three counts each of willfully violating occupational health and safety standards. These charges sent shock waves through university labs throughout the country since this was the first time that a U.S. professor ever faced a felony charge in relation to the death of a lab worker.
Last week, felony charges were dropped against UC regents after a plea deal in which the University agreed to implement a comprehensive safety program and to establish a $500,000 scholarship in Sangji’s name. The University will provide enhanced safety training and protective equipment across all its campuses.
Professor Patrick Harran’s case was continued until September to allow his defense to prepare a challenge to the credibility of the chief California OSH investigator. As the LA Times puts it, “Proceedings against a UCLA chemistry professor in the death of a lab worker take a strange turn when the defense alleges state investigator committed murder as a teen.” It’s a pretty bizarre development, one that is under much discussion in the scientific community. See Facing felony charges in lab death of Sheri Sangji, UCLA settles, Harran stretches credulity.
For ongoing developments in this case, we point you to the ongoing blog postings — 42 as of today — of Chemjobber on the Sheri Sangji case. Not only does Chemjobber provide excellent informed commentary and links to a variety of sources, his postings also include interesting comments from others in the scientific community, from both private industry and university labs.
In the wake of this tragic accident which has had widespread coverage, safety in university labs had really been under scrutiny. Despite the vast scope of academic research, it has largely been unregulated. This case may be the turning point in ushering in a new era of a “culture of safety.”
Below, a good video that the Chemical Safety Board issued in response to this and other two other tragic accidents that occurred in university labs.

CSB Key lab safety lessons and recommendations

  • Ensure that research specific hazards are evaluated and then controlled by developing specific written protocols and training
  • Expand existing laboratory safety plans to address physical hazards of chemicals
  • Ensure that safety personnel report to a university official who has the authority to oversee research laboratories and implement safety improvements
  • Document and communicate all laboratory near-misses and incidents

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.

Another sad chapter in the “no exit” chronicles

Monday, December 20th, 2010

We’re just a few short months away from the 100-year anniversary of one of the most horrific industrial tragedies in our nation, one that catapulted the issue of worker safety to the forefront and helped to usher in a new era reform, including the protection afforded by workers compensation programs. On March 21, 1911, The Triangle Factory Fire killed 146 women and girls, most of whom were trapped on an upper floor of the factory. They were unable to get out because the doors had been locked to prevent theft. You can read many first-person accounts of the tragedy at the link above. My colleague wrote about it in his post The Original “No Exit” : The Triangle Shirt Waist Factory Fire.
In the wake of this tragedy, many safety laws were enacted and many lessons were learned.
Or were they? Last week, the tragedy was mirrored in a Bangladesh garment shop fire that killed 29 women workers and injured another 100. It’s feared that more bodies will turn up. Reports say that to prevent theft, emergency exits were locked.
Now some might think that, however tragic, a fire in Bangladesh doesn’t have much to do with us here in the U.S. Except that in our global economy, it does. Many of the most successful U.S. retailers and clothing manufactures have outsourced former domestic garment jobs to some 4,000 Bangladesh factories. In an article Workers Burned Alive Making Clothes for the GAP, human rights and labor groups make the link. The article paints a grim picture of serial fatalities in Dickensian-era sweat shops where workers are paid less than a dollar a day. In response to publicized abuses, some US companies have established “Codes of Vendor Conduct,” but with a continuing stream of fatalities and worker abuses, labor groups question the effectiveness of these codes and demand a higher level of scrutiny. “How many times in one year do workers have to die before GAP Inc determines that the Hameem group “lacks the intent or ability” to make improvements? This is an American company accountable to American consumers.”
It’s not just The Gap. Other companies that are supplied by Bangladesh garment factories include Wal-Mart, Tesco, H&M, Zara, Carrefour, Gap, Metro, JCPenney, Marks & Spencer, Kohl’s, Levi Strauss and Tommy Hilfiger. Surely, American companies could join forces in leveraging their buying power to demand that safety and basic human rights are enforced.
Unfortunately, here in the U.S., we aren’t immune to such abuses, either. In 1991, 25 poultry workers were killed in a Hamlet chicken processing plant in North Carolina, another instance of workers being locked in. An investigation resulted in the owners receiving a 20-year prison sentence and the company was fined the highest penalty in the history of North Carolina. One would think that U.S. employers would have learned from the Triangle and the hamlet fires, but one would be wrong. In 2004, The new York Times reported that Walmart was locking night shift employees in. Later in the same year, OSHA cited a Winn Dixie supermarket in Mobile, Alabama for similar practices.
The road to good safety practices here in the US was paved with the blood of workers. It took incidents like the Triangle fire and large scale mining disasters before the US public clamored for reform. It remains to be seen whether the same types of offshore tragedies will galvanize consumer opinion enough to call for better worker protections.

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. Firehouse.com 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.

Cavalcade of Risk, Linkedin, AIG, fraud, Station Nightclub fire, & strip searches

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Nancy Germond is hosting Cavalcade of Risk #93 – check it out. And while you’re at it, check out Nancy’s regular insurance column on AllBusiness.
Mark Wall’s excellent WC forum on LinkedIn – While recently attending the National Workers Compensation & Disability Conference in Chicago, I had the opportunity to meet Mark Walls who is the founder of LinkedIn’s excellent Workers’ Compensation Forum. Mark, who is a genuinely nice person as well as a commensurate professional, has created an impressive network of more than 2,400 members, which includes employers, claims adjusters, insurance carriers, third party administrators (TPAs), brokers, attorneys, risk managers, regulators, EH&S professionals, and vendors that provide service to the workers’ comp industry. The group illustrates some of the best advantages and features of social media: industry networking, active discussion boards, and news feeds to blogs and alternative media sources. Members can pose questions or topics and get feedback from other members. Plus, Mark does a great job of ensuring that posts are on-topic and he is strict about disallowing spam. To join, you need to first be a member of LinkedIn, and then you can register to join the Workers’ Compensation Forum. Hope to see you there!
The soft market and AIG – if you are wondering why the soft workers comp market persists, read Joe Paduda’s post on the implications of AIG’s price cutting – it certainly offers some clues. Of course, AIG’s pricing isn’t the only factor, but when you have an elephant in the room, it certainly can’t be ignored.
Fraud surveillance – Roberto Ceniceros talks about cuts in fraud surveillance in both the public and the private sector. He’s looking for feedback from others who are experiencing a similar trend. We’ve also heard talk about cuts in safety and loss control services offered by insurers as part of work comp policies. Any feedback on these issues? It would seem shortsighted to relax on either of these important services.
RI nightclub fire settlementsInsurance Journal covers a recent report on settlement details in the 2003 Rhode Island nightclub fire that killed 100 people and injured 200 others. More than 300 survivors and victims’ relatives sued after the fire. You can also follow some of our past coverage related to workers’ comp, or the lack of it, in this sad case: Workers’ Comp and the Station Nightclub; Avoid Comp Premiums and Pay the Price; Station Nightclub: Who Pays?; Stone Walls and Steel Bars for Business Decisions
Strip search not covered by comp – For nearly a decade, fast food chains throughout the nation were plagued by a cruel and bizarre telephonic hoax, the so-called strip search hoax. The “pranksters” who posed as detectives called fast food restaurants and retail chains and somehow convinced store managers to detain hapless employees. The managers were then guided through a series of progressively questionable and invasive actions such as strip searches of the alleged criminal employees, supposedly on behalf of the police. Sounds weird? It certainly was. In recent developments, Louise Ogborn, a McDonald’s employee and the victim in one of these cases, was awarded $6 million in damages for her humiliating ordeal. McDonald’s attorneys appealed the ruling, invoking the exclusive remedy of workers’ compensation. The Kentucky Court of Appeals disagreed, stating that “We do not find manifest injustice in the trial court’s ruling that Ogborn was not acting in the course and scope of her employment while she was held in the manager’s office.”

It’s Cavalcade of Risk week; that and other news briefs

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Feeling risky? Cavalcade of Risk #89 is posted at David Williams’ Health Business Blog. David is a master of the brief synopsis making it a very user-friendly compilation to browse.
Other news briefs
Fire Prevention – We’re right in the middle of Fire Prevention Week, a good time to communicate with your employees about fire safety at work as well as at home.
Economy and workers comp – At Comp Time, Roberto Ceniceros looks at the issue of how continuing job losses could hammer comp. He notes that, “Comp researchers have referred to recessions and the accompanying fear of job loss as having a ‘disciplining effect’ on workers, which leads to fewer claims filed. But that effect may only last so long.” And for another perspective on where we are headed, at Managed Care Matters, Joe Paduda reports from the AmComp conference, predicting that workers comp results are going to get worse – he points to medical costs as the culprit. And for more on this topic, see How the Great Recession is Changing the American Workplace, an article in Insurance Journal by Jay Reeves and Christopher Leonard. The authors look at effects that are likely to be long lasting.
Hawaii – In 2010, workers comp rates in Hawaii are expected to decline for the fifth consecutive year. Insurance Commissioner J.P. Schmidt says, “This is the largest workers’ compensation insurance rate decline of any state in the nation, except possibly those states that have enacted major statutory reforms.”
Traumatic brain injuries – Military medicine practiced in response to war injuries has always been a proving ground for medical advances and the Iraq war has been true to form. The L.A. Times features an excellent article on what we are learning from the battlefield about treating traumatic brain injuries. Many of the symptoms of PTSD can mimic the symptoms of traumatic brain injury, which can be better identified with new diagnostic imaging technologies.
Friction reducing devices – On the MEMIC Safety Blog, Lauren Caulfield talks about friction reducing devices aka “slider sheets” as a way to reduce injuries in healthcare settings when repositioning and turning patients.
Followup on UCLA lab deathChemJobber has some recent updates in the case of Sheri Sangi, a UCLA lab worker who died in a fire while working. We’ve talked about this case last June in Death in the lab: why aren’t university labs safer? and More on the UCLA lab death of Sheri Sangji
Legal matters – In the Wall Street Journal, Cari Tuna talks about the rise in employer retaliation claims, which were up by 23% in 2008, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The article quotes one employment law attorney who puts retaliation as the No. 1 risk for employers today. Jeffrey Hirsch at Workplace Prof Blog says part of the reason is something akin to the principle it’s not the crime, it’s the cover up.
Every picture tells a story – We’ve previously pointed to the Naval Safety Center’s Photo of the Week. hair-raising photos of unsafe work practices. The Safety Duck Quacks also has a collection of photos of unsafe work situations.
Quick links
Mortality calculators
Lessons learned on e-mail – When it comes to messages, some traces can linger
So You Think Your E-Mail Is Really Deleted?
Owner-Operator truckers back texting while driving ban
World statistics updated in real time

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