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