Fire-Related Firefighter Injuries Report Issued

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) issued a special report examining the details of firefighter injuries sustained on the fireground or while responding to or returning from a fire incident.

The report, Fire-Related Firefighter Injuries Reported to NFIRS , was developed by USFA’s National Fire Data Center and is further evidence of FEMA’s effort to reduce the number of firefighter injuries through an increased awareness and understanding of their causes and how they might be prevented.

The report is part of the Topical Fire Report Series and is based on 2006 to 2008 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).

According to the report:

  • An estimated 81,070 firefighter injuries occur annually in the United States.
  • 49 percent of firefighter injuries occur on the fireground and 6 percent occur while responding to or returning from a fire incident.
  • Overexertion/strain is the leading cause of fire-related firefighter injuries at 25 percent.
  • 38 percent of all fire-related firefighter injuries result in lost work time.
  • The majority of fire-related firefighter injuries (87 percent) occur in structure fires.
  • On average, structure fires have more injuries per fire than nonstructure fires.
  • Firefighter injury fires are more prevalent in July (10 percent) and peak between the hours of 2 and 5 p.m.

Topical reports are designed to explore facets of the U.S. fire problem as depicted through data collected in NFIRS. Each topical report briefly addresses the nature of the specific fire or fire-related topic, highlights important findings from the data, and may suggest other resources to consider for further information. Also included are recent examples of fire incidents that demonstrate some of the issues addressed in the report or that put the report topic in context.


  •  Eighty-seven percent of firefighter injuries reported to NFIRS from 2006 to 2008 were associated with structure fires
  • Three times as many firefighter injuries occur in residential structures than in nonresidential structures, tracking with overall residential/nonresidential fire incidence.
  • Overall, firefighter injuries in residential struc-tures account for 65 percent of firefighter injuries, a majority of which occur in residential building fires.
  • Building fires also make up more than half of the firefighter injuries in structure fires on nonresidential properties.
  • Outside, vehicle, and other fires combined represent 13 percent of firefighter injuries from 2006 to 2008.


Fire-Related Firefighter Injuries by Affiliation and Age

  • Injuries to career firefighters are the largest share (66 percent) of the reported injuries. Nationally, only 28 percent of the fire service is career firefighters.
  • Injuries to career firefighters tend to occur in midcareer (ages 30–45) with the peak between ages 35 and 39. Injuries to volunteers, on the other hand, are sustained predominately by the younger members of the organization. Firefighters under the age of 25 account for 29 percent of injuries in the volunteer service.
  • Career firefighters also experience proportionally more lost-time injuries than their volunteer counterparts (approximately 2 to 1). Volunteer firefighters, on the other hand, receive far more no lost-time injuries.

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