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NIOSH - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

NIOSH Safety and Health Topic:

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program

Each year an average of 105 fire fighters die in the line of duty. To address this continuing national occupational fatality problem, NIOSH conducts independent investigations of fire fighter line of duty deaths. This web page provides access to NIOSH investigation reports and other fire fighter safety resources.


NIOSH Requests Review of a Draft Document

NIOSH is conducting a public review of a draft document entitled "NIOSH Alert: Preventing Deaths and Injuries of Fire Fighters when Fighting Fires in Unoccupied Structures." The draft document and information on how to submit comments are available at the NIOSH docket. Review comments will be accepted through March 9, 2009.

NIOSH Releases New Publication, Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program: Leading Recommendations for Preventing Fire Fighter Fatalities, 1998–2005.

A new NIOSH publication No. 2009-100, Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program: Leading Recommendations for Preventing Fire Fighter Fatalities, 1998–2005, is now available. The document summarizes the most common recommendations from the 335 investigations conducted during the first 8 years of the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program. NIOSH believes the document will be a valuable resource for improving the safety and health of the nation’s fire fighters.

Fatality Investigation Reports

To list all investigative reports completed for a particular state, click on the map.

U.S. Map with States colored based on number of reports Hawaii Connecticut New Jersey Delaware Wisconsin Illinois Michigan Missouri New York Maryland West Virginia Tennessee Florida Kentucky Indiana Vermont New Hampshire Massachusetts Mississippi Pennsylvania Maine Virginia South Carolina North Carolina Georgia Montana Washington Idaho Texas Alaska Ohio Iowa Wyoming Colorado California Arizona New Mexico Alabama Louisiana Arkansas Oklahoma Kansas Nebraska South Dakota Minnesota North Dakota Oregon Nevada Utah Rhode Island Maryland Delaware New Jersey Connecticut Rhode Island Massachusetts Vermont New Hampshire Michigan District of Columbia

The drop down boxes below allow for interactive queries of completed investigative reports. Select a state, incident year and/or Medical or Trauma Category from the selection boxes and click on Submit. (Note: subcategories for the Medical-Related Reports will be added at a later date.)

Incident Year

Recently Released Reports

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation # F2008-02 Fire Fighter Trainee Suffers Heart Attack During Simulated Fire Suppression Exercise – North Carolina (added 1/6/09)

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation # F2007-24 Captain Suffers Sudden Cardiac Death While In Travel Status for Training – Texas (added 1/5/09)

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation # F2008-27 Volunteer Fire Chief Dies from Injuries Received when Privately Owned Vehicle Crashes into Bay Door Pinning him Against Fire Tanker – Wisconsin (added 12/22/08)

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation # F2008-17 Volunteer Assistant Chief Killed When Struck by Tractor-Trailer While Operating at a Motor Vehicle Crash – North Carolina (added 12/18/08)

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation # F2007-09 Career Probationary Fire Fighter Dies While Participating in a Live-Fire Training Evolution at an Acquired Structure – Maryland (added 12/9/08)

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation # F2008-06 Volunteer Fire Fighter and Trapped Resident Die and a Volunteer Lieutenant is Injured following a Duplex Fire – Pennsylvania (added 12/4/08)

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation # F2007-38 Fire Fighter Suffers Sudden Cardiac Death After Responding to Two Calls – Kansas (added 12/4/08)

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation # F2007-35 Four Career Fire Fighters Injured While Providing Interior Exposure Protection at a Row House Fire – District of Columbia (added 11/19/08)

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation # F2007-29 A Volunteer Mutual Aid Captain and Fire Fighter Die in a Remodeled Residential Structure Fire – Texas (added 11/6/08)

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation # F2007-16 Career Fire Fighter Dies and Captain is Injured During a Civilian Rescue Attempt at a Residential Structure Fire – Georgia (added 10/21/08)

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation # F2008-16 Captain Suffers a Fatal Heart Attack While Participating in Fire Department Physical Fitness Training Program - California (added 10/16/08)

Recent NIOSH Fire Fighter Safety Publications

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Evaluation
NIOSH report of findings from its national survey of U.S. fire departments.

Preventing Fire Fighter Fatalities Due to Heart Attacks and Other Sudden Cardiovascular Events
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2007-133
Fire fighters are at risk of dying on the job from preventable cardiovascular conditions.

FDA AND NIOSH Public Health Notification: Oxygen Regulator Fires Resulting from Incorrect Use of CGA 870 Seals
External link:
This document provides information on the danger of fires at the interface of oxygen regulators and cylinder valves because of incorrect use of CGA 870 seals, and identifies measures to prevent such fires.

NIOSH Alert: Preventing Injuries and Deaths of Fire Fighters due to Truss System Failures
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2005-132
Fire fighters may be injured and killed when fire-damaged roof and floor truss systems collapse, sometimes without warning.

NIOSH Workplace Solutions—Preventing Deaths and Injuries to Fire Fighters During Live-Fire Training in Acquired Structures
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2005-102
Fire fighters are subjected to many hazards when participating in live-fire training. Training facilities with approved burn buildings should be used for live-fire training whenever possible. However, when acquired structures are used for live-fire training, NIOSH strongly recommends that fire departments follow the national consensus guidelines in NFPA 1403, standard on live-fire training evolutions [NFPA 2002a] to reduce the risk of injury and death. These guidelines are summarized in the recommendations in this document.

Radio Communication

Current Status, Knowledge Gaps, and Research Needs Pertaining to Firefighter Radio Communication Systems
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) commissioned this study to identify and address specific deficiencies in firefighter radio communications and to identify technologies that may address these deficiencies. Specifically to be addressed were current and emerging technologies that improve, or hold promise to improve, firefighter radio communications and provide firefighter location in structures.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology, Building and Fire Research Laboratory publication "Testing of Portable Radios in a Fire Fighting Environment" this document in PDF 265 KB (24 pages)
External link:
focuses on the thermal environment that radios would be expected to withstand while being used in structural fire fighting operations. Current NFPA standards for radios are reviewed and recommendations for establishing performance standards are presented. The need for providing additional protection from the thermal environment is documented.

Page last updated: January 6, 2009
Page last reviewed: April 8, 2008
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program

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  Inspector General's Program Review
  IAFC's Program Review
  Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program Evaluation
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Tim Merinar, MS
Fatality Investigations Team

Division of Safety Research,