USFA: Firefighter deaths lowest in 17 years

September 28, 2011

Emmitsburg, MD – The total number of on-duty firefighter deaths fell for the second year in a row to a 17-year low of 87 in 2010, according to a U.S. Fire Administration report (.pdf file) released Sept. 27.

The last time fatalities fell this low was in 1993, when 81 on-duty firefighters died, the report said. In 2009, 91 on-duty firefighters lost their lives, down from the previous year (120). Between 2004 and 2009, the number of annual firefighter deaths averaged 112.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • Stress or overexertion remained the leading cause of fatalities, with 50 firefighters dying due to a heart attack and five due to a cerebrovascular incident.
  • For the second straight year, fatal motor vehicle crashes have declined – 11 in 2010, down 31 percent from 2009 and almost 61 percent from 2008.
  • Firefighters who died included 56 volunteer, 28 career and 3 wildland agency.