Facts and statistics about firefighter injuries

Being a firefighter is hard and extraordinary work. You put your heart and soul into saving lives. Your job requires strenuous training, taking dangerous risks and jumping into unknown situations. Every day, you never know what kind of situation you may face. 

There are certain injuries associated with fighting fires, but the most common ones might be different than you assume. Below is an overview of the most common injuries you risk getting while on the job.

Strains and sprains

It might be surprising, but strains and sprains are far more common for firefighters than burns. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, strains and sprains accounted for 24.1 percent of firefighter injuries between 2012 and 2014. This is largely because firefighters need to respond to emergencies without properly warming up. 

When you think about it, professional athletes take a half hour or longer to warm up before games. As a firefighter, you do not always have this luxury. This can result in you pulling muscles. 

Other common injuries

According to data from the USFA, firefighters also commonly face:

  • Cuts
  • Wounds
  • Dehydration
  • Exhaustion
  • Dizziness

Of course, burns do account for some firefighter injuries – 12.8 percent, to be exact. 

Percentages of severe injuries 

USFA data shows that over half of firefighter injuries resulted in no lost time from work. This includes injuries treated with first-aid kits (22.9 percent) and physicians (33.3 percent). However, injuries of a moderate severity that resulted in time off work accounted for 41 percent of injuries. Severe and life-threatening injuries accounted for 2.3 percent and 0.5 percent of total injuries, respectively. 

Injuries related to types of activity

Over half of firefighter injuries occurred while extinguishing fires. However, 23.6 percent happened during support. Access, egress, rescue and operating vehicles all accounted for 3 percent. 

Hopefully, this data will give you some insight into the hazards you face on your job. Make sure you seek workers’ compensation if you ever need to take time off work due to an injury. 

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