In 2011, 61 firefighters in the U.S. were fatally injured while on duty, marking the third consecutive year where on-duty fatalities have decreased significantly. There has been an average of 91 on-duty firefighter deaths per year in the U.S. over the past 10 years.
Those are some of the key findings in the 2011 U.S. Firefighter Fatality Study, authored by Rita F. Fahy, Paul R. LeBlanc, and Joseph L. Molis of NFPA’s Fire Analysis and Research Division. The complete report on the 2011 fatalities will be presented at the NFPA Conference and Expo in Las Vegas in June, and will appear in the July/August NFPA Journal. Other preliminary findings include:
- Sudden cardiac death claimed the largest share of firefighters, or 49 percent.
- Of the 61 firefighters killed in 2011, 35 were volunteer firefighters and 21 were career firefighters. Three were employees of state land management agencies and two were employees of federal land management agencies.
- The largest share of deaths occurred on the fire ground, accounting for 49 percent of the on-duty deaths in 2011.