Firefighter fatalities in the United States

Author(s): Rita Fahy, Joseph Molis, Paul LeBlanc

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Report: NFPA's "Firefighter Fatalities in the United States - 2015" (PDF, 417 KB)
Rita F. Fahy, Paul R. LeBlanc and Joseph L. Molis
Issued: June 2016

This report contains overall statistics from NFPA's study on on-duty firefighter fatalities in 2015. It includes patterns by type of duty at time of fatal injury, cause and nature of injury, age, type of incident and type of property involved in fires. The study includes career and volunteer firefighters as well as employees and members of other organizations, government or private, who are engaged in firefighting activities in an official capacity at the time of their fatal injury. The report also includes narrative descriptions of several of the fatal incidents that occurred during the year.

Report highlights

  • With 68 on-duty firefighter deaths in 2015, the annual total continued below average, with fewer than 70 deaths a year in four of the past five years.
  • Sudden cardiac deaths accounted for a majority of the deaths (51%).
  • Crashes usually account for the second highest share of the deaths, but in 2015, crashes in road vehicles accounted for the second lowest number of deaths in the past 39 years (6 deaths in 4 crashes).
  • The number of deaths of volunteer firefighters was the second lowest total ever reported (32 deaths).


Firefighter deaths by cause of injury - 2015