The NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program

August 2002
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2002-158

The United States currently depends on approximately 1.2 million fire fighters to protect its citizens and property from losses caused by fire. Of these fire fighters, approximately 210,000 are career/paid and approximately 1 million are volunteers. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration estimate that on average, 105 fire fighters die in the line-of duty each year. In fiscal year 1998, Congress recognized the need for further efforts to address the continuing national problem of occupational fire fighter fatalities and funded NIOSH to conduct independent investigations of fire fighter line-of-duty deaths. The NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program conducts investigations of fire fighter line-of-duty deaths to formulate recommendations for preventing future deaths and injuries. The program does not seek to determine fault or place blame on fire departments or individual fire fighters, but to learn from these tragic events and prevent future similar events. Program Goals: 1. Better define the magnitude and characteristics of line-of-duty deaths among fire fighters; 2. Develop recommendations for the prevention of deaths and injuries; and, 3. Disseminate prevention strategies to the fire service.

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Page last reviewed: April 3, 2017