The 62,085 injuries suffered by U.S. firefighters in 2016 reflected an 8.8 percent decrease from 2015, making this the lowest rate of injury since 1981 – the year the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) began analyzing firefighter injury data.
The latest data from the NFPA, released as part of the latest edition of its “U.S. Firefighter Injuries” report, show that the leading injury types in 2016 were: Strains, sprains and/or muscular pains (52.6 percent), and wounds, cuts, bleeding, and bruising (15.2 percent). Some 19,050 (30.6 percent) of injuries resulted in lost time.
The statistics were collected from fire departments responding to NFPA’s annual U.S. Fire Experience survey.
Firefighters were more likely to be injured on the fireground, resulting in 24,325 (39.2 percent) of the firefighter injuries. The leading cause of injury during fireground operations was overexertion and strain (27.1 percent). Injuries also occurred off the fireground. Other types of duty that resulted in firefighter injury were:
- Non-fire emergency incidents (20.6 percent)
- Other on-duty activities (18.2 percent)
- Training activities (13.7 percent)
- While responding to or returning from an incident an estimated 15,425 collisions occurred involving fire department emergency vehicles resulting in 700 firefighter injuries (8.4 percent).
There were also 9,275 documented exposures to infectious diseases (e.g., hepatitis, meningitis, and HIV) in 2016, along with an estimated 36,475 documented exposures to hazardous conditions (e.g., asbestos, chemicals, fumes, and radioactive materials). The documented exposures to hazardous conditions represents a 34 percent increase as compared to 2015.
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About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information, visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.