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Traumatic occupational injury fatalities to fire service personnel, 1992-1998.

Ta ML; Fosbroke DE
NOIRS 2000--Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2000, Pittsburgh, PA, October 17-19, 2000. Pittsburgh, PA: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2000 Oct; :32
Firefighting tasks are performed in varied and dangerous environments posing unique hazards for increased risk of injury and death. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) and the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) annual firefighter fatality reports were analyzed to characterize the pattern and quantify the risk of traumatic occupational fatalities among workers in the fire service. Analysis was limited to civilian firefighting and fire inspection/prevention occupations, including supervisors. Denominator data for rate calculations were derived from the Current Population Survey and the NFPA's Fire Department Survey. From 1992-98 CFOI documented 280 fatal traumatic occupational injuries to fire service workers, a majority (90.4%) of which occurred among firefighters. During this 7-year period, the average fatality rate was 9.0 per 100,000 employed career fire service workers, compared with 4.9 per 100,000 for all workers. Among volunteers, the fatality rate was 3.5 per 100,000. Fires/explosions and transportation incidents were the main injury events. Fatalities from fire/explosion events predominately resulted from: collapsing structures (25.0%), entrapment (23.2%), and smoke inhalation (17.9%). Leading fatal transportation events were distributed among highway (60.6%), pedestrian (20.2% ), and non-highway (7.3% ) incidents. Motorized highway vehicles were the major injury source, accounting for 36.4% of all fatalities. Second to firefighting, activities involving vehicular and transportation operations were the next most hazardous worker activity. Over half (53.3%) of all transportation-related fatal injury events occurred among volunteers. Compared to those who work for pay or compensation, volunteers had 2.5 times the odds of being fatally injured in transportation than fire/explosion events. Vehicle and transportation operations were a prominent cause of traumatic fatal occupational injury, especially among volunteers. While fatality data support the need to focus firefighter training on fire suppression activities, reduction of firefighter fatalities also require training to address motor vehicle hazards.
Accident rates; Accident statistics; Accidents; Accident prevention; Injuries; Traumatic injuries; Injury prevention; Surveillance programs; Statistical analysis; Epidemiology; Fire fighters; Emergency responders; Motor vehicles
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NOIRS 2000 Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2000, Pittsburgh, PA., October 17-19, 2000
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division