Fire Fighters spraying water on massive fire

The United States depends on about 1.1 million fire fighters to protect its citizens and property from fire. Approximately 336,000 are career fire fighters, 812,000 are volunteers, and 80 to 100 die in the line of duty each year.

To address this occupational hazard, the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program conducts independent investigations of fire fighter line-of-duty deaths.


Summary of recommendations from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program, 2006-2014

NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program (FFFIPP) investigations completed from 2006 to 2014 were reviewed to provide information on recent FFFIPP recommendations and to determine if recommendations have changed over time. The top 10 recommendation categories for the time period overall were: 1. Medical screening, 2. Fitness and wellness program, 3. Training, 4. Medical clearance, 5. Standard Operating Procedures/Standard Operating Guidelines (SOPs/SOGs), 6. Incident command, 7. Strategy and tactics, 8. Communications, 9. Personal protective equipment and 10. Staffing.

Assessing Occupational Injuries among Firefighters

This study involves phone interviews of fire fighters who were treated at select emergency departments for injuries or exposures that happened while working. The project aims to reduce injuries and exposures among firefighters and is supported by the International Association of Fire Fighters, the National Volunteer Fire Council, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and the National Fire Protection Association. For information, contact Suzanne Marsh at (304) 285-6009 or

Fatality Investigation No. 2018-154

NIOSH has released publication No. 2018-154 Preventing Deaths and Injuries of Fire Fighters Working at Basement and Other Below-Grade Fires. This Workplace Solutions document summarizes findings from NIOSH firefighter fatality investigations and highlights: the risks that firefighters face fighting basement and below grade fires; recommendations to minimize risks to firefighters; and fire behavior research by Underwriters Laboratories and NIST.

Safety Tip
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Phase in a mandatory comprehensive wellness and fitness program for firefighters.

Page last reviewed: April 3, 2018