Federal agencies Research/studies Fire/emergency medical services

Vast majority of fire-related firefighter injuries linked to structure blazes: USFA

Photo: MattGush/iStockphoto

Emmitsburg, MD — Of the estimated 26,000 fire-related firefighter injuries that occurred annually from 2015 to 2017, 87% were related to structure fires, according to data published in the July edition of the U.S. Fire Administration’s “Topical Fire Report Series.”

Additionally, according to the data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System, firefighters were more than 11 times more likely to be injured in a structure fire than in a nonstructure fire during the three-year period – 11.2 injuries per 1,000 fires compared to 1.0 injury per 1,000 fires, respectively.

An estimated 63,000 on-the-job firefighter injuries occurred annually during the period studied. Other firefighter fire-related injury data:

  • Overexertion or strain was the leading cause of injury, at 29%, followed by hazard exposure (17%).
  • Strains or sprains accounted for 24.8% of injuries.
  • 46% of injured firefighters experienced lost work time.
  • Injuries occurred most often in July (10.6%) and were the least frequent in October and November (6.8% each).

In the report, USFA notes the dangers inherent in firefighting, stating that although “injuries and their prevention are a primary concern,” they “can and do occur.” Still, the agency lauds various industry efforts aimed at advancing firefighter safety.

“Firefighter health and safety initiatives, incident command structure, training, and protective gear are but a few areas where time, energy and resources have been well spent,” the report states.

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