For the Record 8/12

LODDs Hit 35-Year Low

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released its annual Firefighter Fatality Report in June showing a total of 61 on-duty firefighter deaths in the United States in 2011, the lowest annual total of firefighter deaths for the second consecutive year, as well as the lowest annual total in 35 years. The number of firefighter deaths has also sharply decreased over the past three years, a dramatic decline from 105 deaths in 2008.

“It is certainly good news that the number of firefighter deaths has continued to decrease, reaching an all-time low since our first report in 1977,” said Rita Fahy, NFPA’s manager of fire databases and systems. “We are grateful for the sacrifices of these brave individuals and are hopeful that with expanded use of codes and standards and other safety initiatives the downward trend in the number of firefighters dying on duty will continue.”

Areas of decline include:

  • Lowest number of sudden cardiac deaths
  • Lowest number of road vehicle crashes
  • Lowest number of deaths while responding to or returning from alarms

For more on this story, including a video of Fahy’s remarks and a link to the full report, go to


USFA Issues Residential Fire Reports

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) United States Fire Administration (USFA) released of two special reports focusing on the causes and characteristics of fires in one- and two-family and multifamily residential buildings. The reports One- and Two-Family Residential Building Fires (2008-2010) and Multifamily Residential Building Fires (2008-2010), were developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center. One- and two-family residential buildings include detached dwellings, manufactured homes, mobile homes not in transit, and duplexes. Multifamily residential buildings consist of structures such as apartments, townhouses, rowhouses, condominiums, and other tenement properties.

An estimated 240,500 fires in one- and two-family residential buildings occur each year in the United States.  Annually, these fires are responsible for 2,050 civilian fire deaths, 8,350 civilian fire injuries, and $5.8 billion in property loss.  Additionally, there are an estimated 102,300 fires that occur in multifamily buildings each year resulting in 400 deaths, 4,175 injuries, and 1.2 billion dollars in property loss.

To download PDFs of these reports, go to



Fire Officials Selected for Harvard Program

Four senior fire officials will receive fellowships to attend the Harvard University's Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program this summer at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. The 19-day program includes other state and local government leaders from across the United States and other countries with a focus on exploring the interrelationships between citizens and government, analyzing policy options, and examining the ethical and professional responsibilities of exercising leadership.

Those selected are Claude Beauchamp, Director of Operations, Quebec National Fire Academy, Laval Quebec Canada; Martha Ellis, Division Chief, Salt Lake City Corporation Fire Department, Salt Lake City, UT; Matthew James Fratus, Fire Chief, City of Rialto Fire Department, Rialto, CA; Bertral Washington, Fire Chief, Clark County Fire Department, Las Vegas, NV.

Fellowships for this program are provided by Fire Protection Publications/International Fire Service Training Association (FPP/IFSTA), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) administered the competitive selection process and coordinated the final phase which took place at USFA's National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland on April 30.

 “USFA, along with FPP/IFSTA, IAFC and the NFPA believe that these senior fire executives will also represent fire and emergency services with a high degree of professionalism,” said U.S. Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell. “We encourage participation in the Harvard Program because the experience at the Kennedy School of Government enables fire and emergency services officials to have important conversations with elected officials and appointed executives. Now more than ever we need to think creatively together and enjoy dialogue with others regarding the critical challenges facing our communities and nation.”


New Chemistry Course Added to NFA Online

The U.S. Fire Administration's (USFA) National Fire Academy (NFA) announced the availability of a new NFA Online course: Foundational Concepts of Chemistry (Q228).  Completion of Q228 is recommended prior to attending all NFA hazardous materials curriculum courses and is a precourse assignment for Chemistry for Emergency Response (R233) and Advanced Life Support Response to Hazardous Materials Incidents (R247). Beginning in October 2013, Foundational Concepts of Chemistry will be a prerequisite for acceptance into those courses.

There are currently 54 online courses available through NFA Online with topics including Emergency Medical Services, Emergency Response to Terrorism, Fire Prevention, Incident Management, Management Science, Public Education and Wildland Firefighting. Students can access NFA Online at

For more information about the Hazardous Materials / Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) curriculum or other USFA programs and offerings, visit


Line-of-Duty Deaths

Eight emergency personnel recently died in the line of duty. Four volunteer and four career firefighters died in five separate incidents. One incident claimed the lives of four career firefighters. Five deaths were the result of accidents and three deaths were health related.

CHIEF GEORGE DAVIS, 62, of the Hollis, ME, Fire Department died on June 23. Davis suffered cardiac arrest in his driveway outside his home shortly after returning from a fire call. He was a 47-year veteran of the fire service.

FIREFIGHTER RONALD KEDDIE, 64, of the Sheridan, NY, Fire Department died on June 27. After responding to the fire station for a motor vehicle accident call, Keddie was found unresponsive in the station. Keddie was a 41-year veteran of the fire service.

FIREFIGHTER ROCKY E. DUNKIN, 24, of the Nile Township Volunteer Fire Department in Friendship, OH, died on July 1. Dunkin was found unconscious at the scene of a motor vehicle accident on U.S. 52 near Friendship. He was transported to South Ohio Medical Center, where he died.

Four members of the North Carolina Air National Guard’s 145th Airlift Wing in Charlotte, NC, died in a plane crash on July 1. MAJOR JOSEPH M. MCCORMACK, 36, MAJOR RYAN S. DAVID, 35, LIEUTENANT COLONEL PAUL K. MIKEAL, 42, and SENIOR MASTER SERGEANT ROBERT S. CANNON, 50, died when a C-130 Hercules aircraft went down while on a fire attack mission on the 4,200-acre White Draw fire near Edgemont, SD. The C-130 was equipped with a U.S. Forest Service Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) and could carry 3,000 gallons of water or flame retardant. The plane was on its second drop of the day at the time of the crash. Two other crew members were seriously injured.

LIEUTENANT/EMT JOHN L. ECHTERNACH JR., 54, of the Boones Mill, VA, Volunteer Fire Department died on July 2. On June 29, Echternach was enroute to the fire station for storm duty when he stopped to assist a motorist whose car was struck by a falling tree. While assisting the motorist, Echternach was struck by another falling tree. He was transported to a hospital, where he died. Echternach was a 19-year veteran of the fire service.

Jay K. Bradish