EMMITSBURG, Md. -- The number of firefighter fatalities last year showed an 11 percent increase over 2006.
How America's firefighters died is detailed in the final 2007 Firefighter Fatalities report released Monday by the USFA.
In 2007, 118 firefighters were killed while performing their duties, compared to 106 in 2006.
In addition to graphs and pictures, there's also a special section dealing with the issue of seat belt use.
Of the 19 fatal crashes in which seat belt use was known, 11 personnel were not buckled up. Details of some of those crashes are detailed in the report.
A copy of the Brian Hunton National Fire Service Seat Belt Pledge is included in the report as well as other information on the issue.
Dr. Burt Clark, who is spearheading the seat belt initiative said he was delighted that the information is included in the document. He said it speaks volumes.
"It shows there is growing organizational support for the pledge," he said Tuesday. U.S. Fire Administrator Greg Cade has also come out promoting the life-saving measure.
More than 58,000 firefighters across the country have signed the pledge to wear their seat belts, and over 300 departments have been recognized for 100 percent participation.
In addition to facts and figures, the report also pays tribute to the fallen heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving their communities. They hailed from the tiniest companies to large metropolitan departments.
Those who compiled the 100 page document concluded:
"The lessons that we learn from these tragic incidents serve the fire service best if they are used as the basis of preventing future deaths.
The USFA, NIOSH, the NFFF, and a host of other national fire service organizations are making major efforts to reduce injuries and deaths. None of these efforts will be successful until we change the basic culture of firefighting to one that considers risk more actively. We must not fall into the old adage that injuries and deaths "are part of the business." This is an unacceptable philosophy.
There are many facets to the firefighter fatality problem. Some fatalities could be avoided by actions as simple as slowing down the speed of a response, or wearing a seatbelt. Other problems, such as building construction and firefighter health issues, require a more comprehensive and longer-term solution.
No mission is more important to the fire service than the elimination of needless firefighter deaths. "
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