Patterns of firefighter fireground injuries

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Report: NFPA's "Patterns of Firefighter Fireground Injuries"
Author: Richard Campbell
Issued: December 2016

The annual number of firefighter injuries occurring on the fireground has fallen substantially over the last 10 years, with the lowest total in 2014, the most recent reporting year. The vast majority of injuries occurred while fighting structure fires, most of which were building fires. Fires at residential properties were associated with the largest share of firefighter injuries, with nearly three-quarters of the total. One-third of the injuries resulted in lost work time and were classified as either moderately severe or severe injuries, with most injuries classified as minor.

Report highlights

  • In 2010-2014, there were an estimated average of 30,289 fireground injuries experienced each year by U.S. firefighters.
  • The majority of firefighter injuries were sustained by career firefighters (79% of the total), with volunteer firefighters experiencing 21 percent of injuries.
  • Overexertion/strain was the leading injury cause (26% of injuries), followed by exposure to hazard (21%). Other leading causes of injury were slip/trip (13%), contact with object (13%), fall (11%), and struck or assaulted by person, animal, object (7%).
  • Fires at residential properties were associated with the largest share of firefighter injuries, with nearly three-quarters of the total (73%). 

Firefighter fireground injuries by cause of injury 2010-2014