Firefighter fatalities in the United States

More information

"Firefighter Fatalities in the United States 2013" report (PDF, 151 KB)

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Report: NFPA's "Firefighter Fatalities in the United States 2013" (PDF, 417 KB)
Author: 
Rita F. Fahy, Paul R. LeBlanc and Joseph L. Molis
Issued: June 2014

Overall statistics on line-of-duty firefighter fatalities in 2013, including non-incident-related deaths. Includes patterns, trends, career vs. volunteer comparisons, and brief narratives on selected incidents. 

Tragedy in Arizona

June 30, 2013 marked the deadliest day for firefighters since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, with the death of 19 firefighters near Prescott, AZ. "To the families of these brave individuals in Arizona, their friends, their community and their fellow firefighters across the globe who devote their lives to saving others from fire, we offer our heartfelt condolences and share in their grief," said NFPA President Jim Shannon. See additional statistics and research, NFPA Journal® articles on wildfire and online information relating to wildfire, safety and preparedness.

Introduction

In 2013, a total of 97 on-duty firefighter deaths occurred in the U.S. This large increase over the total for the past few years is due almost entirely to two high-fatality incidents – the Yarnell Hill Fire that killed 19 wildland firefighters and the explosion in West TX that killed 9 responding firefighters (as well as an EMT and several local residents). Despite the large number of traumatic and burn injuries that occurred in those incidents, stress and other medical-related issues, which usually result in heart attacks or other sudden cardiac events, continued to account for the largest number of fatalities. One-third of the deaths resulted from overexertion, stress and related medical issues. Of the 32 deaths in this category, 29 were classified as sudden cardiac deaths (usually heart attacks), one due to a cerebral aneurysm, one to a stroke and one was a suicide.

 

Firefighter deaths by cause of injury