USFA: Firefighter fatalities down in 2009

Ninety on-duty firefighters died in 2009, according to recently released data (.pdf file) from the U.S. Fire Administration. The death total was one of the lowest in the 33 years the agency has been tracking firefighter fatalities.

"Over the past 10 years alone, the trend shows a 14 percent reduction in on-duty firefighter fatalities, but we must continue every effort to be sure that when it comes to firefighter health and safety, everyone goes home," said Glenn Gaines, acting USFA administrator.

Of those killed, 47 were volunteers, 36 were career firefighters and seven worked with a wildland agency. The most frequent cause of death was heart attack, which claimed the lives of 39 firefighters.

Common events that led to fatalities included:

  • Those related to emergency incidents: 57
  • Activities at the scene of a fire: 30
  • Responding to or returning from emergency incidents: 15
  • Training activities: 10
  • Conclusion of on-duty activity: 14

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