Firefighting is a dangerous profession, and a growing body of research and data show the contributions that job-related exposures have in chronic illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease, and in behavioral health issues that may end in suicide. These deaths and injuries are in addition to the incident-specific deaths and injuries that occur while on-duty.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently undertook two large studies focused on firefighter cancer and concluded that firefighters face a 9 percent increase in cancer diagnoses, and a 14 percent increase in cancer-related deaths, compared to the general population in the U.S. NIOSH has also reported on the risk to firefighters of cardiovascular conditions. Firefighter suicides are tracked by the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance.
NFPA’s own work in this area focuses on the deaths and injuries of firefighters that are due to specific events while on-duty. See the links below.
Firefighter Fatalities in the United States
Overall statistics on line-of-duty firefighter fatalities, including non-incident-related deaths. Includes patterns, trends, career vs. volunteer comparisons, and brief narratives on selected incidents.
Firefighter Injuries in the United States
The report includes statistics on line-of-duty firefighter injuries from NFPA's survey of fire departments, including non-incident-related injuries, trends, and brief narratives on selected incidents.
Patterns of Firefighter Fireground Injuries
Includes annual average estimates of injuries by such factors as type of injury, type of activity at time of injury, cause of injury by level of severity, occupancy where injury occurred, time of day and ages of injured firefighters.
U.S. Firefighter Deaths Related to Training, 2001-2010
Training is a vital part of fire department operations, but it too often results in unnecessary deaths and injuries. Between 2001-2010, 108 firefighters died while engaged in training-related activities (11.3 percent of all on-duty firefighter deaths in those years, not including the 340 deaths at the World Trade Center in 2001).
U.S. Volunteer Firefighter Injuries
An analysis of volunteer firefighter injuries comparing their experience to all firefighter injuries.