USFA Releases Annual On-Duty Death Report

For the second consecutive year, the number of on-duty firefighter fatalities has dropped.

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The USFA's annual report released Tuesday shows 87 firefighters from 31 states lost their lives on duty in 2010.

Heart attacks remain the leading cause of deaths for firefighters across the country.

Statistics also show that 16 firefighters died while responding to or returning from 15 emergency incidents. Eight of those killed while responding to incidents died from heart attacks, while one died of a stroke.

From 2004-09, an average of 112 annually lost their lives, according to the report.

Researchers determined Illinois had the highest number of fatalities with nine firefighters killed; New York and Ohio had the next highest with eight deaths each.

Of those who died while serving their communities, 56 were volunteer; 28 career, and three were wildland agency firefighters.

Statistics showed that four incidents claimed the lives of two firefighters.

Wildland firefighting claimed 11 personnel, the lowest in a decade.

Other statistics showed activities related to emergency incidents claimed 48; while 22 died at the fire scene.

A dozen firefighters died while training, and 15 died after their on-duty work.

The USFA identifies a firefighter on duty as someone who is involved in operations at the scene of an emergency, whether it is a fire or nonfire incident; responding to or returning from an incident; performing other officially assigned duties such as training, maintenance, public education, inspection, investigations, court testimony, and fundraising; and being on call, under orders, or on standby duty except at the individual’s home or place of business.

March and July were the deadliest months -- 11 killed in both while February and August saw four firefighters killed.

The oldest firefighter to die last year was 86, who suffered a heart attack while establishing a landing zone for a helicopter.

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