[cifnmedia] NFPA released its annual fatality report for the 2003

  • From: Sean & Kimberly Aaron <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: CIFN LIST <cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2004 12:48:47 -0700 (PDT)

Lifesaving Resources' E-Blast
July 26, 2004

Last month, the NFPA released its annual fatality report for the 2003 
calendar year. Since 1977, the NFPA has collected data on the causes of 
on-duty firefighting fatalities in the hopes of preventing as many of 
those deaths as possible in the future. "These data tells us that many 
firefighters' deaths are preventable," according to Rita Fahy, manager 
of fire databases and systems for NFPA. The report breaks down 
fatalities by type and rate of occurrence. This helps focus the 
preventative spotlight on the leading causes of on-duty deaths. Of the 
105 on-duty fatalities in 2003, the two largest causes were heart 
attacks due to stress/overexertion (47) and internal trauma caused by 
vehicle accidents (37).

 Stress and Overexertion
 As with every other year, stress-induced heart attacks remain the 
highest cause of on-duty fatalities. The rate of heart attack deaths 
rose slightly (8% increase from 2002). It is interesting to note that in
 half of the heart attack deaths, firefighters had previous heart 
attacks or bypass surgery and another third had severe arteriosclerotic 
heart disease.

 Vehicle Crashes Rise to Second
 Reaching or leaving the scene of an incident has become the second 
largest cause of on-duty death. Internal trauma caused by vehicular 
accidents has passed dealths occuring at structural fires and is slowing
 edging towards deaths caused by heart attack. This is partly due to the
 fact that firefighter deaths at structural fires have hit an all time 
low. However, the number of vehicular deaths caused directly by 
rollovers or collisions (24) indicates that the majority of those deaths
 were preventable as unsafe speed is cited as a major factor in at least
 16 crashes (some involving multiple firefighter fatalities).

 The full NFPA report is available at 

 NFPA does more than just collect and distribute the information from 
the annual fatality report. NFPA committees have produced two new 
standards that specifically address vehicle safety in response to the 
rise in deaths due to vehicle crashes, NFPA 1002: Standard on Apparatus 
Driver/Operator Qualifications and NFPA 1451: Standard for a Fire 
Service Vehicle Operations Training Program.

Gerald M. Dworkin, Consultant
Aquatics Safety & Water Rescue
P.O. Box 905
Harrisville, NH 03450

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Sean A. Aaron (CIFN*1)
Central Illinois Fire Network

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