The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recently released a study on the Firefighters Fatalities in the United States in 2013. This comprehensive report breaks down the numbers, types and causes of deaths for firefighters in the past year. The NFPA and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) both have released yearly reports, dating back to 1986, about fire fighter fatalities in the United States.
There is quite a lot of information in the 2013 Firefighters Fatalities in the United States report that will be recapped below:
- There were 97 on-duty firefighter deaths in the United States in 2013. The larger number of fatalities, usually averaging between 61 and 82 fatalities a year, is due to two major accidents that occurred in 2013: The Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona and the Texas fertilizer plant explosion. 19 firefighters lost their lives in the Yarnell Hill Fire, which was the deadliest day for firefighters since the 9/11 attacks, and 9 firefighters lost their lives in the Texas fertilizer plant explosion.
- Of the 97 firefighter lives lost in 2013, 41 were volunteers, 25 were career firefighters, 19 were part of a municipal fire department’s wildland firefighting crew (Yarnell Hill Fire), 5 were employees of federal land management agencies, 3 were federal contractors, 2 were state contractors, one was an employee of a state land management agency, and one was a prison inmate.
- Stress, overexertion and medical issues actually accounted for the largest number of deaths, 32, to firefighters in 2013. With the majority of deaths, 29, being caused by heart attacks.
- The second leading cause of death, 30, was caused by the firefighter being caught or trapped by a rapid fire progress, flashovers or explosions. This statistic would include the 19 firefighters from the Yarnell Fire and the 9 firefighters at the Texas fertilizer plant explosion.
- Ten firefighters died in vehicle crashes in 2013. Six fire fighters were struck by vehicles and died.
- Building collapses resulted in 8 deaths, 4 of whom died in a motel restaurant fire roof collapse.
- 30 of the 97 firefighter deaths in 2013 were related to wildfires.
- Two firefighters were killed in connection with intentionally set structure fires. From 2004-2013, 41 firefighters died in this type of fire.
- The median age of firefighters who died in 2013 was 40, with a range of ages from 19-26.
While these are sobering statistics for 2013, the overall trend for firefighter fatalities has dropped significantly over the years of the reports. AKE Safety Equipment honors and thanks all those who have lost their lives in fighting fires and protecting lives.