In 2013, 97 firefighters died while on duty in the United States, a sharp increase over recent years due primarily to the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona, which claimed the lives of 19 wildland firefighters, and the explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas that killed nine firefighters, an EMT, and five local residents. Of the 97 men and women who died last year, 56 succumbed while operating on the fire ground. According to the 2013 NFPA report on firefifighter fatalities, this is the highest number of fire ground deaths since 1999, aside from the deaths at the World Trade Center in 2001.
Overexertion, stress, and medical issues accounted for 32 deaths, the largest share of firefighter fatalities last year. The second leading cause of fatal injury was being caught or trapped by rapid fire progress, including flashover, and explosions. These events resulted in 30 deaths.The firefighters who died last year ranged in age from 19 to 76, with a median age of 40. However, a much higher number of younger firefighters died in 2013 than in other years, mostly as a result of the Yarnell Hill Fire, which killed 19 firefighters, 15 of whom were between the ages of 21 and 30.
For more information on the firefighter deaths of 2013, read "Firefighter Fatalities in the United States, 2013" in the latest issue of NFPA Journal. You may also read the full report, as well as case studies of the fatalities, online.
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