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Volunteer firefighter injuries

Report: NFPA's "Volunteer Firefighter Injuries"
Author: Richard Campbell
Issued: December 2019


Key findings

  • United States volunteer firefighters experienced an average of 5,330 non-fatal injuries on the fireground each year from 2013 through 2017.
  • Injuries involving overexertion or strain are the most common injuries experienced by firefighters on the fireground, followed by exposure to a hazard (such as heat, smoke, or toxic agents).
  • One-fifth of volunteer firefighter injuries resulted in lost work time, while two in five injuries required treatment by a physician but did not result in lost work time and one-quarter of the injuries were classified as first aid only.
  • Approximately half of volunteer firefighter injuries occurred outside at grade level, with another three in ten injuries occurring while firefighters were inside a structure.
  • Volunteer firefighter injuries most often involved hands and fingers, neck and shoulders, knees, and ankles.
  • Volunteer firefighters were most often injured while handling charged hose lines, which accounted for slightly over one-quarter of the injuries.