Eastern Kentucky University

Poster Title

STUDY 1: A Look at the Deaths of Career and Volunteer Firefighters in America: Who Has the Higher Risk of Death?

Institution

Eastern Kentucky University

Abstract

Firefighting is one of the more dangerous professions in the United States. Each year, about 100 firefighters lose their lives while on-duty. Nevertheless, little scientific research exists that examines the causes of deaths among firefighters or the types of activities firefighters are performing at the time of their death. In this project, I used data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System and the National Fire Protection Association to examine which category of firefighters are most at risk of death while on the job: volunteer or career firefighters. Volunteer firefighters are those firefighters who work in an unpaid status with fire departments, while career firefighters are those who are full-time, uniformed firefighters, regardless of assignment. The results from this study suggest that although the number of volunteer firefighters in the United States is almost three times greater than the number of career firefighters, the number of fatalities among volunteer firefighters is generally twice that of career firefighters each year. The explanations and consequences of this finding are also discussed.

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STUDY 1: A Look at the Deaths of Career and Volunteer Firefighters in America: Who Has the Higher Risk of Death?

Firefighting is one of the more dangerous professions in the United States. Each year, about 100 firefighters lose their lives while on-duty. Nevertheless, little scientific research exists that examines the causes of deaths among firefighters or the types of activities firefighters are performing at the time of their death. In this project, I used data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System and the National Fire Protection Association to examine which category of firefighters are most at risk of death while on the job: volunteer or career firefighters. Volunteer firefighters are those firefighters who work in an unpaid status with fire departments, while career firefighters are those who are full-time, uniformed firefighters, regardless of assignment. The results from this study suggest that although the number of volunteer firefighters in the United States is almost three times greater than the number of career firefighters, the number of fatalities among volunteer firefighters is generally twice that of career firefighters each year. The explanations and consequences of this finding are also discussed.