On-Duty Firefighter Deaths Continue Downward Trend

The number of firefighters who died while performing their duties last year continued on a downward trend.

There were 83 firefighter deaths last year, and of those 16 were classified as Hometown Heroes.

A person who dies of a heart attack or stroke within 24 hours of an emergency response is classified as a Hometown Hero, and is eligible for funds under PSOB.

There were 83 firefighter fatalities in 2011 as well, and 87 in 2010.

Heart attacks or cardiac-related issues continue to be the leading cause of firefighter deaths, cited in at least 34 cases, while trauma killed 27.

Eight firefighters died during training, and three were killed at blazes determined to have been intentionally set.

The statistics posted by the USFA are preliminary as information will be sent to all state fire marshals for verification and to make sure all firefighter deaths have been reported.

Of those who died, 40 were volunteers; 32 were career; four were wildland part-time; three wildland contract; and two paid on-call.

Records show that 23 died on the fire scene, and 17 afterward. A dozen died responding, while 15 were performing other duties.

Pennsylvania and North Carolina each lost nine firefighters in 2012, while six died in New York. California and Texas lost five.

Officials also say 12.2 percent of those killed were under 40.