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Surveillance of traumatic firefighter fatalities: an assessment of four systems.
Estes CR; Marsh SM; Castillo DN
Public Health Rep 2011 Jul-Aug; 126(4):540-551
Objectives. Firefighters regularly respond to hazardous situations that put them at risk for fatal occupational injuries. Traumatic occupational fatality surveillance is a foundation for understanding the problem and developing prevention strategies. We assessed four surveillance systems for their utility in characterizing firefighter fatalities and informing prevention measures. Methods. We examined three population-based systems (the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and systems maintained by the United States Fire Administration and the National Fire Protection Association) and one case-based system (data collected through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program). From each system, we selected traumatic fatalities among firefighters for 2003-2006. Then we compared case definitions, methods for case ascertainment, variables collected, and rate calculation methods. Results. Overall magnitude of fatalities differed among systems. The population-based systems were effective in characterizing the circumstances of traumatic firefighter fatalities. The case-based surveillance system was effective in formulating detailed prevention recommendations, which could not be made based on the population-based data alone. Methods for estimating risk were disparate and limited fatality rate comparisons between firefighters and other workers. Conclusions. The systems included in this study contribute toward a greater understanding of firefighter fatalities. Areas of improvement for these systems should continue to be identified as they are used to direct research and prevention efforts.
Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Fire-fighters; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Lung-irritants; Mortality-data; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Questionnaires; Respiratory-system-disorders; Risk-analysis; Risk-factors; Traumatic-injuries; Work-areas; Worker-health; Work-performance; Surveillance
Chris R. Estes, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DSR, 1095 Willowdale Rd., MS H-2800, Morgantown, WV 26505
Issue of Publication
Public Health Reports
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division