The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released the latest edition of its U.S. Firefighter Injury Report, highlighting data on injuries sustained by firefighters on duty that was collected from fire departments responding to the 2012 National Fire Experience Survey.
Firefighter injuries have declined during the past three decades, hovering around roughly 100,000 from the early 1980s through early 1990s. In 2012, 69,400 firefighter injuries occurred in the line of duty.
Of those injuries, 31,490 (45.4 percent) occurred during fireground operations, with the leading causes reported as overexertion, straining (27.5 percent) and falling, slipping, and jumping (23.2 percent).
The Northeast also reported a higher number of fireground injuries per 100 fires than other regions of the country.
The major types of injuries received during fireground operations were:
- strains, sprains, and muscular pain (55.2 percent)
- followed by wounds, cuts, bleeding, and bruising (12.2 percent)
- thermal stress (5.8 percent)
- and burns (5.7 percent)
An estimated 13,820 occurred during other on-duty activities, including:
- 4,190 while responding to or returning from an incident
- 7,140 during training activities
- and 12,760 occurring at non-fire emergency incidents
- Strains, sprains, and muscular pain accounted for 58.5 percent of all non-fireground injuries
In addition to injuries, there were 8,150 exposures to infectious diseases, and 19,200 exposures to hazardous conditions.