Report: increase in firefighter fatalities over the last two years identified by the NFPA
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The US National representative of CTIF, Otto Drozd, has recently published an article on firefighter fatalities around the world. CTIF has contributed through the Center for Fire Statistics. This is an excerpt from the article with a link to the Asia Pacific Fire Magazine.
In August of 2022, the NFPA released its annual “Firefighter Fatalities in the US 2021” report, which showed that on-duty firefighter deaths in 2021 had increased over the last two years although, they have trended downward since the late 1970s.
"Of the total 135 on-duty deaths, 65 were due to Covid. The majority of the Covid deaths were tied directly to emergency response exposures, with a smaller percentage attributed to workplace exposure. Even when factoring out Covid-related deaths, which should dissipate in future years as the pandemic lessens its grip, on-duty firefighter deaths are slightly higher over the last two years. Other important findings included two multiple-fatality incidents, volunteer firefighter deaths surpassing the latest 10-year average, the continued impact of vehicle crashes and deaths from cardiac arrest".
Although the article focuses mostly on firefighter fatalities in the US, it also covers some data from around the world. CTIF has contributed to this information and is mentioned in the following paragraphs:
"The CTIF (The International Association of Fire Services) an organization founded over 120 years ago and considered one of the largest, if not the largest, firefighting organizations in the world, recently released its 2022 Center of Fire Statistics – World Fire Statistics report on data (2016–2020) collected from 48 countries across the globe. In their report, 2020 firefighter fatalities totalled 89 across the 33 countries that reported data. The limitation stated in the report is that: ‘When comparing statistics of countries and cities, it is necessary to keep in mind that every country has its own rules for reporting fires, fire deaths, and fire injuries. These rules change from time to time."
The global perspective represented is admittedly limited due to varying date ranges, definitions and collection methodologies. The one uniting element is that firefighter fatalities are a reality faced by many countries participating in Metro Chiefs, in addition to the global challenges of cancer, suicide and the mental health realities experienced by those that serve during desperate times across the globe.
Otto Drozd III, EFO, CFO is the Executive Secretary of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association.
Metro brings together fire chiefs from large metropolitan fire departments to share information and focus on major issues affecting policy changes in the U.S. and abroad. Its members belong to the IAFC and NFPA and are the fire chiefs of jurisdictions with minimum staffing of 350 fully paid career fire fighters.