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174 firefighters were killed from 2013 to 2017

November 04, 2019

Firefighters face the potential of injury or death each time they are called on to fight fires, rescue people, or preserve property. As wildfires spread in California, firefighters are again called to action to extinguish the blazes and perform rescue activities.  In 2017, 5 firefighters in California were killed while working and 2,200 sustained nonfatal injuries and illnesses resulting in days away from work.

From 2013 to 2017, 174 firefighters in the United States lost their lives while working. In 2013, 34 (64 percent) of the 53 total fatal injuries to firefighters resulted from fires or explosions and another 10 fatalities (19 percent) resulted from transportation incidents. In 2017, 8 (24 percent) of the 34 total fatal injuries resulted from fires and explosions and 17 fatal injuries (50 percent) from transportation incidents.

Number of fatal occupational injuries to firefighters by selected event or exposure, private sector, federal, state and local government, 2013–17 
Selected event or exposure 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

Transportation incidents

10 8 8 19 17

Fires and explosions

34 8 10 1 8

All other events or exposures

9 7 11 15 9

Total

53 23 29 35 34

In 2017, firefighters incurred 15,530 occupational injury and illness cases resulting in days away from work to recuperate. Overexertion and bodily reaction accounted for 41 percent of the injuries and illnesses and 26 percent resulted from falls, slips and trips.

Number of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses to firefighters resulting in days away from work by selected event or exposure, private sector, state and local government, 2013–17 
Selected event or exposure 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

Falls, slips, trips

2,750 2,810 3,430 2,520 4,090

Overexertion and bodily reaction

7,950 6,710 6,330 6,370 6,300

All other events or exposures

3,840 4,920 3,520 3,370 5,140

Total

14,540 14,440 13,280 12,260 15,530

These data are from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program and include workers in the private sector and government. We will release data for 2018 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses on November 7, 2019. 2018 fatal occupational injuries data will be released on December 17, 2019. 

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, 174 firefighters were killed from 2013 to 2017 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2019/174-firefighters-were-killed-from-2013-to-2017.htm (visited November 22, 2019).

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