NFPA: On-duty firefighter deaths down

June 10, 2010

The number of on-the-job firefighter deaths dropped to less than 100 in 2009 for the first time in three years, according to the annual fatality report (.pdf file) from the Quincy, MA-based National Fire Protection Association.

Last year, 82 on-duty firefighters died, down from 105 in 2008. This is the lowest annual total since 1993, when NFPA recorded 79 deaths. Sudden cardiac arrest was the leading cause of death, which highlights the need for wellness/fitness programs and health screenings for firefighters, NFPA said in a press release.

Among other findings:

  • Five intentionally set fires accounted for six deaths.
  • Six deaths stemmed from vehicle crashes, the lowest since 1983.
  • Of the 82 firefighters who died, 41 were volunteer firefighters, 31 were career firefighters, and 10 were employees or contractors of federal and local agencies or private fire safety crews.