The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) announced a provisional total of on-duty firefighter fatalities in the U.S. during 2012 in a report released today.
The U.S. Fire Administration ( announced a provisional total of 83 on-duty firefighter fatalities in the U.S. during 2012, the same number of firefighter losses as in 2011. )
The 83 fatalities were spread across 34 states. Pennsylvania and North Carolina experienced the highest number of fatalities with nine firefighter deaths . New York had six firefighter deaths, including the most recent tragic shooting deaths of two firefighters in Webster.
Volunteer deaths accounted for 48.2% of the total deaths while career was waswasat 38.6%, followed by part-time wildland at 4.8%. Eleven on-duty firefighters died in association with wildland fires, the same as 2011 and 2010, the report said.
The main cause of fatal injury was stress/overexertion at 45.8% with vehicle collision at 22.9%. Interestingly, assault accounted for 2.4% of deaths. The single cause of injury seeing more than a four-fold increase in firefighter deaths during 2012 was vehicle collisions with 18 deaths.
The top nature of fatal injury was heart attack at 41% followed by trauma at 32.5%. Heart attacks or stroke were responsible for the deaths of 41 firefighters in 2012. This single year total is a near average proportion of firefighter deaths from heart attack or stroke over recent years, according to the report. This nature of fatal injury has remained relatively constant.
These 2012 firefighter fatality statistics are provisional and will likely change somewhat as the USFA contacts state fire marshals to verify the names of firefighters reported to have died on duty during 2012. The final number of firefighter fatalities will be reported in USFA's annual firefighter fatality report, expected to be available by July.