NFPA recently released a new report analyzing volunteer firefighter injuries for the years 2009-2011. This report provides interesting insight on the different challenges that volunteer firefighters face.
An Analysis of Volunteer Firefighter Injuries, 2009-2011, compares the experience of volunteer firefighters to all firefighter injuries reported in the NFPA Annual Firefighter Injury Report. The injury statistics in that report combine career and volunteer firefighters.
Several observations are worth noting. For injuries by type of duty, volunteers (56.6%) were more likely to receive injuries at the fireground than all firefighters combined (43.3%) A factor contributing to the wound, cut, etc. injuries and the injuries due to frostbite, or heat stroke is that departments protecting smaller communities were less likely to have adequate or up to date personal protective equipment than departments protecting larger communities.
Also at the fireground, smoke or gas inhalation accounted for a higher percentage of injuries for volunteers (9.8%) than for all firefighters combined (4.9%). Again, departments protecting smaller communities were less likely to have adequate or up to date SCBA equipment than departments protecting larger communities.