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 in Prescott, Arizona, and marked the deadliest day for firefighters since the 9/11 terrorist attacks – and the explosion in West, Texas that killed nine responding firefighters (as well as an EMT and several local residents), according to NFPA’s latest report, “Firefighter Fatalities in the United States 2013.”
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.
Read the full report.
For more wildland fire reports and statistics, check out NFPA’s wildland fire “reports, case studies and guides” page.