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Mitigating fireground injury risks: Suggested interventions

Posted: Aug. 30, 2018

Firefighting poses many hazards that come in a wide variety of work settings. A recent study1 focused on the scope and nature of fireground injuries to determine what steps fire departments can take to better mitigate hazards posed by certain risks. The study used 2010-2014 data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System and the National Fire Protection Association’s annual fire experience survey.

Research study findings

  • There was an estimated annual average of over 30,000 fireground injuries in 2010-2014.
  • Sprains and strains were the leading injury type (26 percent).
  • Injuries peaked in the months of January and July. Seasonal factors played a significant role in these injuries.
Slips, trips and falls in January were much higher than the annual average.
Thirty-four percent of July injuries were caused by overexertion, likely the result of hotter working conditions.

Suggested interventions for fire departments

  • Remind crews about potential hazards that peak seasonally and provide guidance on injury prevention strategies.
  • Use core strength and aerobic fitness training to reduce the risk of strain and sprain injuries.
  • Adopt risk management programs to counter complacency in practicing injury prevention.

Learn more about this research

This research article is available through our library by contacting FEMA-NETCLibrary@fema.dhs.gov.

1Campbell, R. (2017). U.S. firefighter injuries on the fireground, 2010-2014. Fire Technology: Vol 54 (2), 461-477.

This summary is for informational purposes only. As such, the content does not reflect any official positions, policies or guidelines on behalf of the sender, the U.S. Fire Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, nor any other federal agencies, departments or contracting entities. Similarly, this summary does not represent in any manner an official endorsement or relationship to any private or public companies, organizations/associations, or any authors or individuals cited or websites associated within the article.

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