A new NFPA report on female firefighter injuries finds that in the five-year period from 2010 to 2014, female firefighters in the U.S. experienced an estimated 1,260 injuries on the fireground each year. While women now comprise approximately 7% of the firefighting workforce, according to NFPA’s most recent "U.S. Fire Department Profile" by Hylton Haynes and Gary Stein, there has been little research to date that specifically focuses on female firefighter injuries. A key goal of the report is to begin describing the injury problem for women firefighters by quantifying the number of injuries and examining key incident details.
Here are findings from the report:
- Career firefighters accounted for 65% of the female firefighter injuries and volunteers for the remaining 35%.
- Overall, 31% of injuries resulted in lost work time.
- The leading cause of injury was over-exertion or strain for both career (23% of injuries) and volunteer (30%) firefighters, followed by exposure to hazard (17% career; 22% volunteer), and slip or trip (16% of injuries for both affiliations).
- The vast majority of injuries occurred while fighting structure fires.
- Volunteer firefighter injuries were more likely to occur at natural vegetation fires (14%) than those of career firefighters (3%).
- The leading month for injuries was July.
With a baseline of injuries and injury incident information now established, the task moving forward will be to monitor trends, make efforts to examine data in more detail, and disseminate information to partners who can use data to plan and implement intervention initiatives that address the principal sources of female firefighter injury.