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Fire Chief 2001 Mar; 45(3):62-64
When firefighters and paramedics respond to an incident along a highway, they often don't realize that they may be in as much danger from passing traffic as when they enter a burning building. Motorists accustomed to a clear, unobstructed roadway may not recognize and avoid closed lanes, emergency workers on or near the roadway, and a variety of fixed object hazards. In addition, weather conditions can impair motorists' ability to see and avoid firefighters and apparatus. Between 1995 and 1999, 17 firefighters were struck and killed by motorists, according to the National Fire Protection Association. This is an 89% increase in this type of line-of-duty death from 1990 to 1994, when nine firefighters were killed. Early estimates for 2000 show five deaths and 20 injuries. (See sidebar.) In 1999, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health investigated two cases where a firefighter was struck and killed by a motorist while providing emergency services along the roadside. In Oklahoma, one firefighter died and a second was severely injured, and in South Carolina, a firefighter was killed after being struck by a tractor-trailer truck. These cases illustrate some of the hazards firefighters face while working along roadways.
Firefighters; Paramedical services; Emergency response; Emergency responders; Occupational hazards; Mortality rates; Mortality data; Occupational accidents; Accidents; Accident statistics; Accident rates; Injuries; Firefighting; Fire hazards; Motor vehicles; Occupational hazards; Traumatic injuries; Injury prevention
Issue of Publication
Page last reviewed: July 9, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division