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206 firefighters died on the job from 2013 to 2018

September 03, 2020

Firefighters face the potential of injury or death each time they are called to fight fires, rescue people, or preserve property. As wildfires spread in California, firefighters are again called to extinguish the blazes and perform rescue activities. In 2018, firefighters in California sustained 2,300 nonfatal injuries and illnesses resulting in days away from work. In the same year, there were no publishable data for firefighters that died on the job in California.

From 2013 to 2018, 206 firefighters in the United States lost their lives because of work injuries. In 2013, 64 percent of firefighter deaths (34 of the 53 total) resulted from fires or explosions. Another 19 percent (10 deaths) resulted from transportation incidents. In 2018, 22 percent of firefighter deaths (7 of the 32 total) resulted from fires and explosions and 38 percent (12 deaths) from transportation incidents.

Number of fatal work injuries to firefighters by selected event or exposure, private sector, federal, state and local government, 2013–18
Event or exposure 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

Total

53 23 29 35 34 32

Transportation incidents

10 8 8 19 17 12

Fires and explosions

34 8 10 1 8 7

All other events or exposures

9 7 11 15 9 13

In 2018, firefighters incurred 15,910 work injuries and illnesses resulting in days away from work to recuperate. Overexertion and bodily reaction accounted for 7,780 of the injuries and illnesses and 4,040 resulted from falls, slips and trips.

Number of nonfatal work injuries and illnesses to firefighters resulting in days away from work by selected event or exposure, private sector, state and local government, 2013–18
Event or exposure 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

Total

14,540 14,440 13,280 12,260 15,530 15,910

Overexertion and bodily reaction

7,950 6,710 6,330 6,370 6,300 7,780

Falls, slips, trips

2,750 2,810 3,430 2,520 4,090 4,040

All other events or exposures

3,840 4,920 3,520 3,370 5,140 4,090

These data are from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program and include workers in the private sector and government. BLS will release data for 2019 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses on November 4, 2020, and 2019 fatal occupational injuries data on December 16, 2020.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, 206 firefighters died on the job from 2013 to 2018 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2020/206-firefighters-died-on-the-job-from-2013-to-2018.htm (visited July 29, 2021).

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