Fire/emergency medical services

60 on-duty firefighter deaths in 2017 fewest in 40 years: NFPA

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Quincy, MA — Sixty firefighters were killed on the job in 2017 – the fewest since NFPA began reporting on-duty firefighter fatalities in 1977 – according to an annual report from the National Fire Protection Association.

The organization categorized nearly half of the fatalities (29) as sudden cardiac death, the fourth time that total has fallen to less than 30 in the past six years.

“Many of the all-time or near lows we saw in 2017 reflect a continuation of declining firefighter fatality rates in the United States,” Rita Fahy, manager of fire databases and systems for NFPA, said in a June 11 press release.

Still, NFPA acknowledged “some unexpected shifts” among the data. Notably, 10 firefighters were fatally struck by passing vehicles in 2017. The annual average over the past three decades is four, NFPA states. Struck-by fatalities have totaled 10 or more only three times since 1977.

The second leading cause of fatalities in 2017, with 11 deaths, took place at the scene of non-fire emergencies.

Among the fatalities: 32 volunteer firefighters, 21 career firefighters, three employees of federal land management agencies, two federal and state contractors, and two prison inmates.

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