By Susan Nicol, Firehouse.com News
Last year was record-setting -- the fewest on-duty deaths of firefighters since the USFA started compiling statistics in 1977. There were 85 on-duty deaths in 2010, according to preliminary statistics. Of those, 15 are classified as Hometown Heroes.
In 2003, federal legislation was adopted that firefighters who died of heart attacks or strokes within 24 hours of a response or training receive that designation.
This is the second year in a row that on-duty deaths showed a decline. In 2009, the country experienced the lowest number in 15 years.
Of those who died in 2010, 55 were volunteers, 28 were career, one was a paid full-time wildland and one was a paid-on call.
Heart attacks continue to claim the most firefighters -- 56.4 percent -- while trauma was reported in 23.5 percent of the deaths. Other causes included stroke, burns, heat exhaustion, asphyxiation and crushing.
Two firefighters who died in 2010 had sustained the injury in previous years, records showed. Those two deaths will be added to those years' totals bring this years down from 87 to 85.
Twenty-five of those who died were 61 or older, while two were under 21.
The number of on-duty deaths may change in the coming months as officials check with people in each state to ensure that everyone has been counted.
March and July were the deadliest months -- 11 firefighter fatalities each, while there were four in February and August. On May 22, four firefighter deaths were recorded by the USFA.
Other statistics showed 20 occurred on the scene; 19 other on-duty activity; 16 responding; 16 after; 7 training; 4 on-scene non-fire and one returning.
You can read the full report here: http://www.firehouse.com/files/article_pdfs/USFA2010fatalitysummary.pdf