2007 Firefighter Report: Heart Attacks are Number One Killer

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) has released a report titled Firefighter Fatalities in the United States in 2007 which continues a series of annual studies by the administration of on-duty firefighter fatalities in the United States.

"One of the greatest challenges we face as a fire service is to stop the needless deaths of firefighters while in service to their communities," said Greg Cade, United States fire administrator. "Every day and across this nation, firefighters are responding to emergencies that threaten the lives of their residents. These same threats also threaten the lives of firefighters. Unfortunately, we all lost far too many firefighters in 2007."

During calendar year 2007, there were 118 firefighters who lost their lives while on duty across the United States.

USFA said the specific objective of the report is to identify all on-duty firefighter fatalities that occurred in the United States and its protectorates, and to present in summary narrative form the circumstances surrounding each occurrence.

In addition to the 2007 overall findings, the study includes information on the hazards to firefighters presented by the lack of seatbelt use. In 2007, 27 firefighter fatalities resulted from vehicle-related incidents. In 19 of the 27 incidents where seatbelt status was known, 11 firefighters were confirmed as not wearing seatbelts at the time of the event.

The following is an overview of the 118 firefighters that died while on duty in 2007:

  • Sixty-eight volunteer firefighters and 50 career firefighters died while on duty.
  • There were seven firefighter fatality incidents where two or more firefighters were killed, claiming a total of 21 firefighters' lives.
  • Eleven firefighters were killed during activities involving brush, grass, or wildland firefighting, the lowest in more than a decade.
  • Activities related to emergency incidents resulted in the deaths of 76 firefighters.
  • Thirty-eight firefighters died while engaging in activities at the scene of a fire.
  • Twenty-six firefighters died while responding to or returning from emergency incidents.
  • Eleven firefighters died while they were engaged in training activities.
  • Fifteen firefighters died after the conclusion of their on-duty activity.
  • Heart attacks were the most frequent cause of death for 2007, with 52 firefighter deaths.

The access a pdf of the entire report, click here.

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