Fire/emergency medical services

USFA: Structure fires are leading cause of injury for firefighters

3 firefighters

Photo: Susan Chiang/iStockphoto

Emmitsburg, MD – An estimated 66,200 firefighter were injured on the job from 2012 to 2014, and a vast majority (87 percent) of those injuries occurred in structure fires, according to data published in the August edition of the “Topical Fire Report Series” from the U.S. Fire Administration.

Structure fires also were found to cause more injuries per fire than non-structure (i.e., fires in vehicles or outside) fires: Firefighters were nearly 11 times more likely to be injured in a structure fire (12.7 injuries per 1,000 fires) than in non-structure fires (1.2 injuries per 1,000 fires).

Other findings:

  • Overexertion or strain was the leading cause of injury, at 27.4 percent, followed by hazard exposure (17.9 percent).
  • Strains or sprains were the most common injury (24.1 percent).
  • 43.8 percent of injured firefighters experienced lost work time.
  • Nearly one-third of all fire-related injuries (30 percent) occurred among firefighters ages 35 to 44.
  • Injuries to the upper and lower extremities accounted for 42 percent of fire-related firefighter injuries.
  • Fire injuries were highest in July (10.8 percent) and lowest in October (6.4 percent).
  • Fires resulting in firefighter injuries peaked between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., when 17.3 percent of such fires occurred. The smallest percentage of these fires, 2.5 percent, occurred between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m.

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