In its annual report published Monday, the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), 60 U.S. firefighters died while on duty in 2017, which is the lowest annual total reported since 1977, when NFPA began reporting on-duty firefighter fatalities. It is the sixth time in the last seven years that the total has been below 70 deaths.
Of the 60 fatalities, 32 were volunteer firefighters, 21 were career firefighters, three were employees of federal land management agencies, two were contractors with federal and state land management agencies, and two were prison inmates. Deaths among career and volunteer firefighters were both at their second-lowest totals in 2017.
According to NFPA, the 17 deaths that occurred at the fire scene represents the second-lowest number of fire ground deaths since the study’s inception and 2017 was the second consecutive year that number has been below 20.
During 2017, 10 firefighters were struck by vehicles, which is far higher than the average of four deaths a year over the previous 30 years.
The firefighter fatality study is made possible by the cooperation and assistance of the United States fire service, NIOSH, the United States Fire Administration, the Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Land Management of the U.S. Department of the Interior.