Muscular Injuries Most Common for Firefighters

Sprains, strains and other muscular injuries are the most common injuries firefighters receive in the line of duty, according to local and national data, reports

Firefighters' protective gear keeps them from being burned, but the sudden nature of their work and the heavy lifting it often involves means muscles are at risk, local fire chiefs said.

"Injuries will always be part of what we do," Racine Fire Chief Steve Hansen said in an email. "We are responding to emergency calls for help under hazardous situations where at times victim's lives depend on us being able to do our jobs to the best of our abilities under the most demanding situations."

The National Fire Protection Association released its annual report documenting on-duty firefighter injuries in 2012 earlier this month. It showed that of about 69,400 injuries that year, 57 percent were muscle-related. The Racine Fire Department's numbers for that report also show strains as the most common type of injury overall between 2010 and 2012; though not part of the report, Caledonia and South Shore fire chiefs said the same holds true for them.

Both local and national records show burns at the scene of the fire are a rarity, which Chief Richard Roeder of the Caledonia Fire Department said was not surprising, considering all the expensive gear worn to prevent such injuries.

"If I get burned at the fire, I did something wrong," he said.

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