The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Fire Administration announce that the 28th annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend will be held October 2-4, 2009. A plaque with the names of 103 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2008 will be added to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial, located here on the National Fire Academy campus. The names of 19 firefighters who died in previous years will also be added. The plaques surrounding the Memorial, which was established in 1981, will contain the names of more than 3,300 firefighters.
Thirty-six states experienced line-of-duty deaths in 2008. Deaths resulted from many causes, including vehicle accidents while enroute to or returning from emergency calls, training incidents, building collapses, diving incidents, natural disaster response, being struck by objects (vehicles, trees, waterway from aerial devices, and gunshot wounds) at the incident scene, falls, heart attacks, helicopter/air tanker crashes, and burns. Five multiple fatality incidents accounted for 17 deaths. Two multiple fatality incidents occurred at structural fires, one in an apparatus crash after a bridge collapse during heavy smoke conditions at a wildland fire, one helicopter crash during a wildland fire, and one air tanker that crashed on take-off. Wildland fires, controlled burns and training/certification for wildland protection resulted in 15 fatalities. Oregon and North Carolina suffered the Nation’s greatest number of line-of-duty firefighter deaths in 2008 with 9 in each state, while Pennsylvania and New York had 8, Missouri had 7, and California had 6.
Chief Dennis Compton, Chairman of the NFFF Board of Directors, stated: “Our country’s firefighters make a commitment day in and day out to protect others from the ravages of fire and many other life threatening hazards. Each year we gather at the site of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland, to pay tribute to those firefighters who paid the ultimate price in the performance of their duties. The fire service is honored and humbled to memorialize these fallen heroes and show our sincere appreciation for the sacrifices made by those they left behind.”
For more information about the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend visit Weekend.FireHero.org.