36,880 Estimated Firefighter Fireground Injuries in 2004: USFA

Twice as many firefighters are injured each year performing fireground duties as there are fire injuries to the civilian population, reaching an estimated total of 36,880 in 2004, according to a new report issued yesterday by the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Fire Administration.

Titled Fire-Related Firefighter Injuries in 2004, the report was developed by the National Fire Data Center, part of USFA, and is based primarily on analyses of the 2004 National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) Version 5.0 data (available at www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/nfirs).

"Everyday firefighters face great risks of bodily injury and possibly even death," said Alex Furr, NFDC director. "Firefighting, by its very nature, is an extremely dangerous job, and therefore it is important that we take steps to educate the fire service on improving firefighter health and safety and focus on injury prevention."

The report presents the details of firefighter injuries sustained at or responding to a fire incident. These injuries may be the result of operations at the fire scene or responding to or returning from an incident.

Additionally, the report examines firefighter injury rates and fire-related injury characteristics. Eighty-nine percent of firefighter injuries reported to NFIRS in 2004 were associated with structure fires. Of these injuries, 76 percent occurred on residential properties. Injuries to the upper and lower extremities accounted for 30 percent of all reported fire-related firefighter injuries.

An additional 20 percent of injuries were to the head, neck, and shoulder areas. Regarding the nature of the injury, 34 percent were related to sprains, strains, cuts, and wounds. Burns accounted for an additional 11 percent of the reported injuries.

To view the report in its entirety, visit www.usfa.dhs.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/2004_ff_injuries.pdf.

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