Each year, about 100 U.S. firefighters die and at least 80,000 are injured in the line of duty. Even though a 30-year overview prepared by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reveals that the death rate at structure fires has dropped steadily since 1999, recent events remind us that the need for diligent safety efforts is critical when responding to fires in residential and commercial structures ("Firefighter Fatalities Studies 1977- 2006" by R.F. Fahy, P.R. LeBlanc and J.L. Molis, NFPA Journal, Vol. 101, No. 4, pages 48-55). Lessons learned from these tragedies, if acted on, may prevent future deaths.
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