Firefighter fatalities down 6 percent in 2010

Emmitsburg, MD – Firefighter fatalities decreased 6 percent from 2009 to 2010, according to statistics (.pdf file) released Jan. 7 from the U.S. Fire Administration. Eighty-five on-duty firefighter fatalities occurred in 2010, a drop from 90 such fatalities in 2009.

The rate of fatalities occurring as a result of wildland fires dropped 50 percent compared with 2009 figures, and two-thirds compared with 2008. The number of firefighters killed in vehicle crashes also dropped to 11 in 2010, from 16 in 2009. And for the first time since 1999, no deaths involved aircraft.

Relatively unchanged is the rate of firefighters who died as a result of heart attack or stroke, which claimed the lives of 51 firefighters – or 60 percent of all who died on duty. Performing emergency services caused the second highest number of fatalities (48 percent overall).

Approximately two-thirds of firefighters killed were volunteers. The highest number of fatalities (25) occurred among firefighters 61 and older.

These statistics are provisional and are subject to change as USFA contacts state fire marshals for verification.

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