USFA: '09 On-Duty Deaths Lowest in 30 Years

The lowest number of on-duty firefighter deaths in more than 30 years was recorded in 2009, the USFA confirmed Wednesday.

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"Over the past ten years alone, the trend shows a 14 percent reduction in on-duty firefighter fatalities but we must continue every effort to be sure that when it comes to firefighter health and safety, everyone goes home," Acting United States Fire Administrator Glenn Gaines said in a prepared statement.

The official USFA report states that 90 firefighters died while performing their duties last year.

Also, heart attacks once again were the leading causes of firefighter deaths. They claimed 39 lives last year.

The document was released just days before the nation pauses to honor firefighters who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The National Fallen Firefighters' Memorial Service will be held Sunday morning on the campus of the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg.

Families of the heroes to be recognized as well as returning survivors, fellow firefighters and the public gather every year in October to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving their communities.

Some of the statistics included in the report shows:

  • 47 volunteer, 36 career, and 7 wildland agency firefighters.
  • There were six firefighter fatality incidents where two or more firefighters were killed, claiming a total of 13 firefighters' lives.
  • 16 firefighters died in duties associated with wildland fires, compared to 26 such fatalities in 2008.
  • Activities related to emergency incidents resulted in the deaths of 57 firefighters.
  • 30 firefighters died while engaging in activities at the scene of a fire.
  • 15 firefighters died while responding to or returning from 13 emergency incidents in 2009. This compares to 24 responding/returning fatalities in 2008.
  • 10 firefighters died while they were engaged in training activities.
  • 14 firefighters died after the conclusion of their on-duty activity.