Firefighting

FIREFIGHTER FATALITIES: THE PREVENTABLE LOSSES

Issue 6 and Volume 159.

BY VICTOR STAGNARO Firefighting has long been recognized as a challenging and physically demanding job. In the past 100 years, technological advances have assisted firefighters in confining and extinguishing fires. Among the areas in which these improvements can be seen are communications, firefighting gear and equipment, aerial ladders, and the speed with which water can reach the seat of a fire. However, despite all the technological advances, with the exception of some sprinklered occupancies, there is still a reliance on firefighters to enter a burning building with a hoseline to extinguish the fire. Although the technological advances may lead some to believe that firefighters are safer today, the average number of annual firefighter deaths has not gone down significantly. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that fewer civilian fire fatalities occurred over the past 25 years, from approximately 7,400 citizens in the mid-1970s to about 4,000 in the year…

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