Firefighter injuries in the United States

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Report: NFPA's "U.S. Firefighter Injuries - 2015" (PDF, 1 MB)
Author: Hylton J.G. Haynes and Joseph L. Molis
Issued: October 2016

The report includes statistics on line-of-duty firfighter injuries from NFPA’s survey of fire departments – including non-incident-related injuries, trends, and brief narratives on selected incidents. This report focuses on acute injuries and recorded exposures versus chronic pathologies. Fireground injuries occur at the fire emergency scene and the surrounding area. Non-fireground injuries are all other injuries that occur outside of the fireground, these include responding and returning from incidents, non-fire emergencies, training and other on-duty activities.

Report highlights

  • 68,085 firefighter injuries were reported in the U.S in 2015. Of these, 29,130 were injuries at the fireground.
  • The number of fireground injuries per 1,000 fires has remained relatively constant for the past 20 years, which reinforces the need for continued standards development, as well as fire prevention outreach and advocacy.
  • Strain, sprain, muscular pain resulted in more than half the major types of injuries received during fireground operations (53%) and non-fireground injuries (60%).
  • In addition to injuries, there were 8,350 documented exposures to infectious diseases (e.g., hepatitis, meningitis, HIV, other) in 2015. This amounts to 1 exposure per 2,500 emergency medical service runs by fire departments.
  • There were an estimated 27,250 documented exposures to hazardous conditions (e.g. asbestos, chemicals, fumes, radioactive materials, other) in 2015. This amounts to 1 exposure per 40 hazardous condition runs by fire departments.
  • In 2015, there was an estimated 16,600 collisions involving fire department emergency vehicles responding to or returning from incidents. This is the highest number of collisions since NFPA began collecting this information in 1990.

Fireground injuries by cause - 2015