Fire Technology

, Volume 50, Issue 5, pp 1043–1059 | Cite as

International Comparison of Fire Department Injuries

  • Jefferey L. Burgess
  • Michael Duncan
  • Joshua Mallett
  • Bonnie LaFleur
  • Sally Littau
  • Kuninori Shiwaku


Firefighting remains a dangerous profession. The objective of this study was to compare injury rates among career and volunteer fire departments internationally. Methods: Injury and staffing data were collected for 2004–2009. All reported, lost-time, and activity-specific injury rates were calculated for fireground, medical, training and physical exercise activities. Injury rates were also adjusted for number of fireground and medical responses, and average annual training hours. Injury rates were generally higher in the U.S. than in Commonwealth nation and Japanese fire departments. Lost-time injury rates varied markedly among fire departments, from 0.6 (95% CI 0.4–0.9) to 23.5 (95% CI 22.4–22.7) injuries per 100 firefighters per year. The greatest pair-wise differences in lost-time injury rates were seen in the fireground and medical call activities, and these differences persisted when the rates were adjusted by the number of firefighters responding to fireground and medical incidents, respectively. Injury rates vary substantially across fire departments, suggesting that substantial improvements could result from adoption of more optimal health and safety approaches.


Firefighter Injuries International Risk management 



We wish to thank the partnering fire department administrations and unions for their willingness to share their expertise and data. In addition, we would like to thank the Metro Chiefs, in particular Russ Sanders, and the International Association of Fire Firefighters for their support of the study. Casey Grant and the panel members of the Fire Protection Research Foundation of the National Fire Protection Association provided essential review of the study design, results and interpretation.


This study was supported by FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program—Fire Prevention and Safety grant # EMW-2008-FP-01536.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jefferey L. Burgess
    • 1
  • Michael Duncan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joshua Mallett
    • 1
  • Bonnie LaFleur
    • 1
  • Sally Littau
    • 1
  • Kuninori Shiwaku
    • 3
  1. 1.Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public HealthUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public HealthUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  3. 3.Shimane University School of MedicineShimaneJapan

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