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Annual report on firefighter fatalities in the United States

The objective of the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) study “Firefighter Fatalities in the United States” is to identify and analyze all on-duty firefighter fatalities to increase understanding of their causes and how they can be prevented. The study is intended to help identify approaches that could reduce the number of deaths in future years.

2020 annual report

Firefighter fatalities in the United States in 2020

Download the report

Data visualization: Firefighter fatality causes

causes of firefighter fatalities in 2020

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Table: Firefighter fatality causes open + close -

Stress or overexertion37
Exposure (COVID-19)36
Vehicle crashes15
Caught or trapped3
Struck by object2
Out of air2

On-duty firefighter deaths in 2020

49 Career
44 Volunteer
9 Wildland
102Firefighters died while on duty.
36 firefighters died from COVID-19.
72Firefighters died from activities related to an emergency incident.
29Firefighters died from heart attacks.
26Firefighters died from activities at a fire scene.
25Firefighters died from activities at a non-fire scene.
14Firefighters died while responding to or returning from emergency incidents.
7Firefighters died while participating in training activities.

Table: On-duty firefighter fatalities (2011-2020) open + close -

YearNumber of Firefighter Fatalities1
10-Year Trend (%)-27%

1 Firefighter fatality counts include firefighters who died under circumstances that were part of inclusion criteria changes resulting from the Hometown Heroes Survivors Benefit Act but do not include COVID-19 fatalities for purposes of a trend analysis.

Table: Firefighter fatalities by age (2020) open + close -

AgeNumber of Firefighter Fatalities
Under 211
21 to 254
26 to 305
31 to 355
36 to 407
41 to 4515
46 to 5014
51 to 559
56 to 6015
61 to 6510
66 to 7011
71 to 753
Over 753

1986-2019 annual firefighter fatality reports

See also: Fire-Related Firefighter Injuries Reported to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (2015–2017) July 2019

More resources on firefighter fatalities

Firefighter Autopsy Protocol
This protocol helps with the analysis of causes related to firefighter deaths, which can aid in the development of improved firefighter health and safety equipment, procedures and standards. It also helps determine eligibility for death benefits under the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Program.

National Fallen Firefighters Foundation
The Foundation provides peer counseling, training and technical assistance for families and coworkers of firefighters who were killed in the line of duty. It also creates publications and reference materials that can be used to build public awareness for the many contributions made by members of the fire service.

Public Safety Officers' Benefits Program
The Public Safety Officers' Benefits Program provides benefits to survivors of fallen firefighters, Emergency Medical Services members and other first responders. The Program also provides disability benefits for public safety officers who are permanently disabled following an injury while in the line of duty.