87 Firefighters Died on Job on 2010; 56 Were Volunteers

September 28, 2011

Eighty-seven on-duty firefighters from 31 states lost their lives as the result of 83 fatal incidents that occurred in 2010. Fifty-six of those who died were volunteer, not career, firefighters.

This is the second consecutive year the number has gone down substantially, according to the United States Fire Administration (USFA) in its report, Firefighter Fatalities in the United States in 2010.

During the previous six-year period of 2004-2009, the average number of annual on-duty firefighter deaths was 112.

Fifty of the 87 deaths in 2010 were attributed to heart attacks, the leading cause of death for firefighters on duty.

Illinois experienced the highest number of fatalities with nine firefighters killed; New York and Ohio had the next highest totals with eight firefighter deaths each.

The total breakdown included 56 volunteer, 28 career, and 3 wildland agency firefighters.

Additional facts from the USA report:

  • There were 4 firefighter fatality incidents where 2 firefighters were killed in each, claiming a total of 8 firefighters.
  • 11 firefighters died in duties associated with wildland fires. Along with 11 such deaths in 2007, it was the lowest number of annual firefighter deaths associated with wildland fires in a decade.
  • Activities related to emergency incidents resulted in the deaths of 48 firefighters.
  • 22 firefighters died while engaging in activities at the scene of a fire.
  • 16 firefighters died while responding to or returning from 15 emergency incidents. 9 of the firefighters killed while responding to incidents died from heart attacks (8) or stroke (1).
  • 12 firefighters died while they were engaged in training activities.
  • 15 firefighters died after the conclusion of their on-duty activity.

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