Fire/emergency medical services Statistics

81 firefighter deaths in 2012: USFA report

Firefighter deaths -- Sep13

Photo: Jerry Sharp

Emmitsburg, MD – On-duty firefighter deaths totaled 81 in 2012, according to a U.S. Fire Administration report released Sept. 17.

The number is a slight decline from the previous year, in which 83 firefighters died while on duty. Included in the 81 deaths are 12 firefighters who died from heart attack or stroke within 24 hours of strenuous on-the-job activities – conditions that were not included in the totals until after the passage of the Hometown Heroes Survivors Benefits Act in 2003.

If Hometown Hero deaths are not included, the 69 firefighter deaths in 2012 constitute the second-lowest annual figure in the past 36 years. As in prior years, stress and overexertion were the most frequent causes of death, accounting for 45 deaths – or 56 percent of the total – in 2012. Most of these deaths – 39 – were due to heart attacks.