Patterns of firefighter fireground injuries

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Report: NFPA's "Patterns of Firefighter Fireground Injuries"
Author: Michael J. Karter, Jr.
Issued: December 2013

Includes 2007-2011 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.


For the 2007-2011 period, there was an estimated annual average of 34,065 firefighter fireground injuries at all type of fires (structures, vehicles, outside and other) in the U.S. Of these, an average of 23,885 were minor, and 10,180 were moderate or severe.

The leading types of minor injuries were: strain or sprain accounting for an annual average of 6,200 injuries or (26%); pain only, accounting for 3,095 injuries (13%); thermal burns only, accounting for 2,625 injuries (11%); cut or laceration, accounting for 1,985 injuries (8%).

The leading types of moderate and severe injuries were: strains or sprain accounting for an annual average of 3,420 injuries a year, or 34%; thermal burn, accounting for 1,115 injuries (11%); pain only, accounting for 945 injuries (9%).

Activities related to extinguishing a fire accounted for half of the minor injuries (12,410 or 52%), and for half of the moderate and severe injuries (5,255 or 52%).

The leading causes of minor injuries were exposure to something (5,640, or 24%), while for moderate and severe injuries the leading cause of injuries were fell, slipped, or tripped (3,375 or 33%).